VeNom Codes


VeNom Codes

The VeNom Codes are stored in a central Database Dictionary that is maintained by the Royal Veterinary College. Within the dictionary, each code (Term name) is allocated a unique numeric identifier (Database Dictionary Id) and codes are grouped according to the type of term under a Label, e.g. Diagnosis, Presenting complaint. The VeNom Codes are modelled into parent-child hierarchies, with relationships between hierarchies as well, and the Top level modelling shows the parent grouping/body system for each term. Other information stored within the Database Dictionary includes whether a code is active or deactivated in the referral and/or first opinion environment.

Below is a screenshot of a selection of the codes as they appear in excel.


Various external bodies have helped the VeNom Group develop the codes and have verified their use. These groups are acknowledged below:


Breeds - with collaboration from  

The breed codes currently consist of canine and feline breeds that are recognised by kennel clubs and cat fancying associations across the world. Where possible all synonyms of the same breed have been linked in the codes to each other, and are independent of their colour coding unless it is specific to that breed. Similar breeds have been grouped together using standard categories (eg Retrievers or Spaniels). The list is very inclusive to ensure all types of dog breeds are covered, and first generation pedigree crosses (such as Labradoodle or Puggle) are also included to assist with data capture. Non-standard cross breed dogs are recorded as synonyms of 'Crossbreed'. The cat terms are more uniform across the world and results in a simpler list, only certain breed descriptors are included as extra to the breed (eg Point). This list is frequently being updated as new breeds are introduced across the world.

Currently, equine and farm animal breed lists are being generated along with small furries and exotics. The VeNom Group is grateful to the assistance of Rx Works in the creation of these codes.


The first terms to be created in the VeNom codes were diagnosis. They were started as a need arose from Universities to record cases systematically in an electronic database. The diagnostic list currently contains 2,010 different diagnostic codes. These are divided up by body system and location that are affected, and body system hierarchical information is contained within the database. Diagnostic codes are not species specific in themselves but so far only diagnostic codes for Small Animals have been included. The diagnostic codes for equine and farm animal species is under peer review.

The diagnostic codes are currently implemented in many universities and first opinion practices as well as in industry such as insurance. Disease surveillance programmes have also implemented the diagnostic codes.

Presenting Complaints

These codes relate to the reasons why animals are presented to veterinary surgeries, they consist of 178 terms. The terms are inclusive of presenting complaints for primary practice as well as referral practices. Currently only small animal presenting complaints are included.


The veterinary procedures performed at both first opinion and referral practice can be coded for within 718 different procedure codes. These codes catalogue all the procedures that are performed in small animal clinics. Equine and Farm animal procedures are currently under development.


The therapeutic codes are currently under development. The VeNom Coding Group are very grateful for the help of The BSAVA Formulary in developing the therapeutic terms within the VeNom list.


The species listing within the code is a generic listing that links together breeds in the hierarchy system. The 46 listed species are simplified names to include large groups of species within a colloquial name (eg Hamster or Mouse). More common single species groups have their synonym colloquial names and their scientific names linked within the codes (eg Sheep and Ovine).