I recall vividly the day I discovered that the term, “Veterinary Doctor” was not found in the dictionary, I was discombobulated! You mean, this term I had used up to that point as an appellation, was not an English terminology?! I was appalled, to say the least. ‘How had I gone through 6 years of vet school without realizing that’, I mused. I quickly did some research and found out that the correct parlance to describe my work were: “Veterinarian” and or “Veterinary Surgeon“. Veterinary Surgeon is the English lingo while Veterinarian or Vet (short form) is the American counterpart.
Consequently, I dropped the old wrong term and picked up the new right ones. One thing bothered me still. I discovered many people including colleagues didn’t know or use the correct lingo. Once, I introduced myself as a veterinary surgeon and the person I was talking to thought I was a specialist surgeon. He didn’t realize that I was simply trying to tell him that I was a vet.
For a long time, hearing or seeing the term, “Veterinary Doctor”, bothered me. The feeling I experienced anytime I heard that term was akin to how most English linguists feel when they see a typo or hear bad grammar. So, I started to gently enlighten people. Hence this post.
These days however, I’m not as appalled when someone calls me a “veterinary doctor” even though I still detest the term fiercely. I just smile and gently correct them. It dawned on me recently that “Veterinary Doctor” is Nigerian lingo. It is Nigerian English. It might not be grammatically correct but it is what we understand. That said, we should still strive to use the correct parlance always and that is why on this blog I always use the appropriate terminologies.
So, whether you are a vet professional, a vet student, an animal lover or whoever, determine today to use the right parlances: Veterinarian; Vet or Vet Surgeon when addressing the doctors of veterinary medicine.
I’m Gloria Adesina and I am proud to be a Nigerian
Veterinary Doctor Veterinary Surgeon!