Veterinary Medical Informatics Research Academics & Research VA-MD Vet Med


Core Resources


SNOMED-CT® Veterinary Resources - The Veterinary Terminology Service Laboratory (VTSL) supports the development and application of medical nomenclature standards for the veterinary profession. Online resources include an internet based SNOMED-CT® browser, a terminology discussion forum, and a library of presentations made at national and international meetings. VTSL is developing a Veterinary Adaptation of SNOMED-CT® to improve access to standardized medical terminologies and reduce the financial burdens associated with their use by veterinary professionals.

Current Projects


Developing a SNOMED-CT® based diagnostic terms list for the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) - The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) is funding VTSL to develop a subset of the Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine – Clinical Terms® (SNOMED-CT®) consisting of equine diagnostic terms which will be useful in recording patient findings in electronic veterinary medical records system.


Implementation of the Structured Product Labeling (SPL) initiative in the new animal drug pre-approval environment - FDACVM is funding VTSL to determine the suitability of utilizing the electronic drug label called the Structured Product Label (SPL) in the preapproval environment for animal drugs. VTSL will also be analyzing and updating data dictionaries in support of the adoption of the SPL at FDACVM.

Private funding

Analysis and feasibility study of using practice data for distributed teaching and research - A private donor is funding VTSL to analyze the medical records and imaging system of a large specialty practice in Virginia and determine if it could serve as a teaching and research source for the veterinary college.


National Animal Health Laboratory Network - USDA is funding development of terminology resources for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN). The NAHLN is part of a national strategy to coordinate the Nation's Federal, State, and University laboratory resources to allow authorities to better respond to any type of animal health emergency. VTSL provides terminological expertise, terminology maintenance and web service-facilitated access to the terminologies required for laboratory participation in the network.
USDA – APHIS – VS Terminology - The Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health (CEAH), part of USDA-APHIS-Veterinary Services (VS), is currently revising and updating the Surveillance and Data Standards for USDA-APHIS-VS. As part of this process, CEAH is funding the VTSL to work with them in revising the species and breed standards, including alignment to SNOMED-CT®, for use in all Veterinary Services projects and programs.


Developing Alignment between American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Diagnostic Terms and SNOMED-CT® - The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Electronic Health Record Task Force (EHRTF) has produced the AAHA Diagnostic Terms (a list of terms for incorporation into veterinary hospital information systems) to facilitate recording and analysis of patient medical records. AAHA funded VTSL to align its terminology with the Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine – Clinical Terms® (SNOMED-CT®) and create a subset of diagnostic terms. The subset, distributed in an xml document, consists of medical concepts and synonyms needed to record common patient findings in small animal practice.


Developing the Animals in Context Ontology (ACO) – Animals are classified by any number of various characteristics including Linnaean rank, physiologic features, purpose and place. VTSL is developing an ontology of common animal classes called the Animals in Context Ontology (ACO) which includes non-Linnaean groupings such as Duck and practical animal groupings such as Beef cattle. ACO classes integrate with the Linnaean hierarchy, other Open Biological and Biomedical Ontologies (OBO), and include text definitions and formal definitions. ACO is formatted in OWL-DL and is mapped to the VTSL Extension of SNOMED-CT.

Teaching and Outreach


Our faculty and staff routinely consult with a number of veterinary organizations and government agencies concerning the application of SNOMED-CT® in general and the veterinary content in SNOMED-CT® specifically. These organizations include the American Animal Hospital Association, the American College of Veterinary Radiology, Veterinary Medical Databases Inc., Veterinary Clinics of America, Antech, Zoasis, the US Centers for Disease Control, the US Geologic Survey, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Homeland Security.


The American College of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology - The Veterinary Medical Informatics Program provides web site design, hosting, markup and maintenance for ACVCP.


VMRCVM Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology - The Veterinary Medical Informatics Program provides internet-based Clinical Pharmacology teaching resources, including class notes and case-based laboratory exercises.

Legacy Projects


The Veterinary Medical Informatics Program provided data management support to the Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine (FDACVM) for seventeen years. The lab developed the database structures and a system for online database access to the official list of drugs approved by the FDA for use in animals.
The Veterinary Medical Informatics Program published the FDACVM list of approved animal drug products (also known as the Green Book) from its inception in 1989 through 2008.
FDACVM is evaluating a number of medical informatics standards including the Structured Product Label (SPL), Standard for Exchange of Non-clinical Data (SEND), and the Study Data Tabulation Model (SDTM). These standards are designed for exchange of data between and among the FDA, drug sponsors and the public. The VTSL evaluated several terminologies (SNOMED CT®, LOINC®, NCI Thesaurus, HL7®, etc.) which support these data standards and assisted the FDA in developing standards-based data dictionaries appropriate for veterinary medicine.


Terminology development for the ZIMS Project - The Integrated Species Information System is developing the Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS), a unified global dataset on animal health and well-being. The medical information management portion of this database employs SNOMED-CT®. VTSL is supporting the development and application of SNOMED-CT® in the ZIMS system.


Development of an Integrated Wild Bird Surveillance Database - VTSL is supporting USGS expansion of an existing wildlife database so that that it is capable of integrating avian influenza surveillance data being collected from multiple institutions. Selection and development of medical terminological resources is central to USGS desire to facilitate integration of data from multiple sources into the system.


Veterinary Antimicrobial Decision Support - An internet based support system for antimicrobial therapy decision-making was developed for the FDACVM. Though development has been suspended, this internet resource remains available as a teaching/learning resource for veterinary pharmacologists and food animal clinicians..