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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Is Your Pet ADR?

There are many abbreviations used in medicine, most very confusing to average people. Just look at your prescription some time before you give it to the pharmacist. Something given by mouth is abbreviated "PO", meaning "Per Os" (Latin for "By Mouth"). A medicine given twice daily is listed as BID. If you look on a medical record and see TPR, this stands for Temperature, Pulse, and Respiration. A problem with the right eye might be listed as OD, or "occular dextrans". The list could go on.

Which brings us to an abbreviation that I have seen used in official records while I was in veterinary college. This is surprising because of what it stands for. Keep in mind that medical abbreviations are normally based on Latin or sometimes Greek, and are considered official and proper designations. These abbreviations are not taken lightly. And that brings us to the abbreviation of "ADR".

Most of the time when a patient comes in, the client can list the problem. It might be vomiting or diarrhea, limping, acting lethargic, not eating, or a number of things. However, sometimes the client can't say exactly what's wrong, only that there is something wrong. I'm sure those of you with pets know your own pets very well, and can tell when they're not feeling well. It might be kind of subtle, and you might not be able to put your finger on the exact problem, but you know there's an issue that needs to be examined. When your pet is sick with ambiguous or even indefinable symptoms, your vet might list him or her as "ADR". So what does it mean?

Imagine a farmer bringing his dog into the vet. He doesn't know what the problem is, but he knows that his prized hunting dog isn't feeling well, and he's worried. The doctor asks him what's going on, and what problems he's seeing. The farmer replies, "I don't know, doc. He just ain't doin' right."

Yes, that's correct. "ADR" stands for "Ain't Doing Right". And I've seen it in official veterinary college medical records. I've always enjoyed this abbreviation, and find it very amusing that something like this has persisted among veterinarians for who knows how long. So the next time your pet has a mysterious problem, tell the vet that they are ADR. I'll bet that your vet will understand.