By: Lana Chumney
Texas A&M University, Class of 2011
In our first year curriculum of vet school, we have a class called clinical correlates. In this class we tour different production facilities to get a feel of how livestock are raised and what the producers, that will soon be our clients, do everyday. This particular day we were touring the Beef Production Center. It was cold and windy and was one of the few days in vet school that I can remember wishing I was sitting in a classroom.
While looking at some cattle, our professor started quizzing us on Redwater Disease (Bacillary Hemoglobinuria). He asked, “Now what sign is virtually pathognomonic for this disease?” As our first year minds were still swarming with terms from anatomy and histology, we were perplexed. After several seconds, he asked, “Does everyone know what pathognomonic means?” I nodded a yes with the rest of my classmates. Of course I knew this term; it seemed that I had heard it a million times just that week in microbiology. I was also a master of root words, thanks to our anatomy class. To my surprise his next question was, “Lana, please tell us what that means!” As I flipped through my mental rolodex of medical terms I thought, “Patho= pathology.” Yes, that’s correct. And “pneumo = lung”. This is too easy. “Of course Dr. Smith, pathognomonic means pathology of the lungs.” After learning the correct definition, I decided that this might just be pathognomonic of failure of correlates class!