What was that? Top 10 veterinary client mispronunciations

March 4, 2021
Michael Nappier, DVM, DABVP
Michael Nappier, DVM, DABVP

Michael Nappier is assistant professor of community practice in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Firstline, Firstline March/April 2021, Volume 18, Issue 2

From ‘heatworms’ to ‘rimadrill,’ our clients always keep us on our toes and guessing.

Mastering veterinary terminology can pale in comparison to mastering our clients’ “alphabet soup.” Depending on their level of veterinary knowledge or native tongue, some clients can clearly communicate their pets’ needs, whereas others fumble words or butcher medical terms. Either way, it is your job to do your best to understand what they are saying. One good first step: Be aware of the most misused veterinary terms. Kindly correct them when they get it wrong. The goal is to help them stay informed, not to humiliate or undermine them.

Test your deciphering abilities in the list below.

The top 10 client mispronunciations and confused terms

10. Heatworms: Or shall we say “Flamethrowers.”

9. Roundworms/ringworm: Not really sure, but at least it’s round?

8. Bordello or Portobello vaccine: I don’t think that’s the right “cathouse,” but I do like those mushrooms.

7. Spade-ed/Newtered: What do you need a small shovel and an amphibian for?

6. Prostrate problems: Probably don’t want to take those lying down…

5. Pyrometra: Burn baby burn?

4. Gabakitten: OK, this one is kind of true.

3. Distemperament shot: Shouldn’t you want the Goodtemperament shot?

2. Rimadrill: Is that a new type of power tool?

1. Bruce Willis testing: If you’re positive, do you “Die Hard?”

So, were you able to decipher these words? Check the answer key below to see how well you scored.

Answer key:

10. Heartworms

9. Gastrointestinal vs skin

8. Bordetella

7. Spayed/Neutered

6. Prostate

5. Pyometra

4. Gabapentin

3. Distemper

2. Rimadyl

1. Brucellosis

Michael Nappier, DVM, is an associate professor of community practice in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in Blacksburg, Virginia

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