Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tackling The Veterinary Terminology: Prefixes (laryng-)

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.

A prefix is placed at the beginning of a word to modify its meaning by providing additional information. It usually indicates number, location, time, or status.
laryng-/laryngo [luh RING goh] - from Greek - larynx, the voice box

The larynx is the box-like structure between the back of the mouth and throat that regulates the passage of air into and out of the trachea and allows vocalization.
Source: Dictionary of Veterinary Terms

Simply put, it controls the air flow and keeps the food out of the windpipe.




The scariest condition affecting the larynx is laryngeal paralysis

Laryngeal paralysis most commonly affects middle aged, to older large breed dogs. Usually for unknown reasons, the muscles that open the larynx begin to lose their ability to function normally. The larynx may be able to open partially or it may remain almost completely closed, in which case you’re dealing with a real emergency situation!

Noisy breathing is the first symptom of the disease that owners typically notice. 

Dogs may also be unable to exercise as they used to, tire easily, pant excessively, and the sound of their barks may change. As the condition worsens, or during times of stress or hot weather, breathing difficulties become more obvious.

To definitively diagnose laryngeal paralysis, a veterinarian has to watch the dog’s larynx move while he or she (the dog, not the veterinarian) breathes. 

This requires that the dog be lightly sedated. Mild cases of laryngeal paralysis can be treated with weight loss, medications that relieve anxiety, and modifying the dog’s environment and activity level (e.g., encouraging him or her to rest in a cool location).

Surgery is necessary for more severe cases. 

The most common type of surgery involves a procedure that permanently opens one side of the dog’s larynx. This greatly improves his or her ability to breathe, but also increases the chances that food or water will enter the windpipe and lungs, leading to aspiration pneumonia.


Image: Animal Surgical Clinic

Other common terms starting with this prefix you might encounter include laryngitis, inflammation of the larynx, and laryngospasm, which is pretty much self-explanatory.

Laryngoscope is an instrument that allows examination of the larynx, laryngoplasty is surgical repair of the larynx, and so on.

Finally, a note on a common mispronunciation… The name of the body part we’ve been talking about is “larynx” [lar INGKS] not “larnyx” [lar NIX]. Think about a guy named Larry writing in ink and you’ll get it right every time.

***

Related articles:
Jake's Laryngeal Paralysis

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)
Veterinary Suffixes (-rrhea) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-cyte) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-blast) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-opsy)
Veterinary Suffixes (-ac/-al)

Veterinary Prefixes (hyper-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (hypo-)
Veterinary Prefixes (pyo-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (myo-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (myelo-)
Veterinary Prefixes (spondylo-)
Veterinary Prefixes (cardio-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (cervic-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (osteo-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (fibro-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (broncho-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (hemo-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (brady-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (tachy-)
Veterinary Prefixes (hepat-)
Veterinary Prefixes (gastr-)

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