Vet clinics can oftentimes be stressful places. Difficult cases present, veterinarians and clients may not be on the same page, and time can be a major factor in terms of tending to sick animals. Acronyms, abbreviations, and slang have developed over the years in order to expedite communication between personnel and ideally the processes by which animals can be helped. TPLO, CBC, IBD, GDV, and FeLV are just a few of the contributors to this vast alphabet soup that readily come to mind. I remember that when I first started volunteering in high school at a local clinic (shout out to Chateau Veterinary Hospital!), I was taken aback by these letter combinations and confused as to what people were saying. Something originally designed to help with communication can actually hamper progress if someone doesn’t know the lingo. Even today I pick up new acronyms left and right. It is very important for me to familiarize myself with them and ask coworkers if I do not understand it when someone asks me if a dog is PU/PD.
Though I have never experienced a case in which a patient is DOA (“dead on arrival”), I know that it happens. Whenever I hear this acronym, the first thing I associate it with is the rap song “Death of Auto-Tune” by Jay Z. I would like to flip the traditionally used DOA on its head and apply the reverse order to the feeling that incoming vet students ought to have before leaving their homes to arrive at vet school: Alive On Departure! This is an exciting time of year during which incoming first-year as well as returning students from across all U.S. vet schools leave their homes and head to their respective campuses. Studying for exams and labs may take their toll later on in the semester, but my wish is for all of us to feel AOD right now.