What’s In A Name

Veterinarians are simple practical people. This is reflected in the names of many veterinary diseases. Maladies like lumpy jaw, woody tongue, footrot, chronic wasting disease, white spot and white nose syndrome are sensible practical names that describe the most recognisable symptoms and tell you exactly what to expect.

Medicos, on the other hand, seem to think it more important to immortalise themselves by naming afflictions after themselves. Diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Wernicke’s disease, Perthe’s syndrome and Häusler’s disease, as well as being impossible to pronounce, tell you nothing about the condition except who first described it.

Perhaps it is time to follow the veterinary example? Instead of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease we could have “mad human” disease. Wernicke’s disease becomes “booze rots your brain” disease. Perthe’s syndrome turns into “motorcycle riding crushed chest” syndrome and Häusler’s disease morphs into “skier’s insanity”.

Dr. F. Bunny

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