Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tackling The Veterinary Terminology: Suffixes (-rrhea)

Remember the Spelling Bee? Big words are easier to tackle when you understand how they're put together. Veterinary terms are composed in the same way. Just like with other words, the main parts of a veterinary term are a prefix, a root, and a suffix. The difference is that they typically come more directly from Greek or Latin.

The suffix is the bit that will tell you about what procedure, condition, disease or disorder you're dealing with.
-rrhea [rē′ə] from Greek - flow, discharge

(also -rrhoea) I bet you wouldn't have pegged this one for a suffix! But is is.

The most common example? Of course! Diarrhea

Dr. Laci wrote a wonderful guest series on the subject. So what does the word diarrhea really stand for? Rapid flow of fecal matter. I think that every dog owner's carpet could tell stories about that.

Poop is not the only thing that flows.

Seborrhea is another one many dog owners have heard at one time or another. Seborrhea is an excessive discharge from sebaceous glands of the skin. Ha! How come, then, that the condition often comes with dry flaky skin? Turns out that while the word definition itself stands for excessive discharge, the term includes different types of the condition. Dry seborrhea, similar to heavy dandruff, oily seborrhea, that comes with flaky AND greasy skin, and seborrheic dermatitis, greasy and flaky skin. It's not a perfect world...

For something more exotic you will likely never hear, try otorrhea, discharge from the ear or pyorrhea, the third stage of gum disease characterized by pus discharge.

There are more examples in human medicine; I guess we leak more...

***

Related articles:
A Tale of Many Tails—and What Came Out From Underneath Stories from My Diary-rrhea (part I)
Acute Small Intestinal Diarrhea
Acute Large Intestinal Diarrhea (Acute Colitis)
hronic Large Intestinal Diarrhea
Chronic Small Intestinal Diarrhea

Veterinary Suffixes (-itis)
Veterinary Suffixes (-oma) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-pathy)  
Veterinary Suffixes (-osis) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-iasis) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-tomy) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-ectomy)  
Veterinary Suffixes (-scopy) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-emia)
Veterinary Suffixes (-penia)

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