At my daughter’s recent graduation, I realized that with my generation’s passing, three of my family’s surnames would lose their direct bloodlines. In today’s diverse family structures, this isn’t unusual, but it did make me ponder the significance of a name—particularly in Veterinary medicine. How did companies like IDEXX, Virbac, myBalto, The Bridge Club, and Petfolk choose their names?

The journey to name a company varies greatly. A name might carry a founder’s surname, sound appealing, directly reference the company’s purpose, or even set a legacy for the brand to uphold. I feel like understanding the foundation of a company creates a deeper relationship with the brands. So, let’s dive in.

While some brand names may carry the surname of a company, making it easy to recall its historical foundation, it can happen where the actual the origins of a company names become obscured over time. IDEXX, a global leader in pet healthcare diagnostic and software products, is one such brand. A statement found on Reddit suggests, “IDEXX incorporated as AgriTech Systems in 1983 and changed its name to IDEXX in 1988. The name is based on IDX, the abbreviation for immunodiagnostics.” This background makes sense; however, this information remains unconfirmed.

Much like the rumored beginnings of IDEXX, Virbac’s name is deeply rooted in the beginnings of the company. As the sixth-largest Veterinary biopharma company globally, Virbac derives its name from its founder, French veterinarian Pierre-Richard Dick. Established in 1968, the company was dedicated to vaccines and medicines for companion animals and livestock. Dr. Dick spent his early days focused on viruses and bacteria. Hence, he blended the words “virus” and “bacteria” to create Virbac. This is one brand name history I won’t soon forget.

Then there are companies with unique names like myBalto Foundation and The Bridge Club, which at first glance seem unrelated to Veterinary medicine or their products. But these brand names have a story to tell.

The myBalto Foundation equips hospitals with a charity to support patients’ medical needs. Their name, myBalto, honors the true story of Balto, the Alaskan sled dog who helped deliver life-saving medication during a diphtheria outbreak in Nome, Alaska, in the 1920s. To honor Balto and his fellow sled dogs, the company combined “Balto” with “my” to convey the personal medical mission, like terms like myHealth and myChart. myBalto provides innovative ways for Veterinary teams to offer crucial financial support to their patients, reflecting Balto’s life-saving journey.

As for The Bridge Club, people often ask if it involves playing cards. While it doesn’t, the name is inspired by early neighborhood bridge clubs known for fostering social connections and community spirit. Initially, The Bridge Club aimed to create networking opportunities for professionals across all sectors of Veterinary medicine to support and learn from each other. As the organization has grown, its mission has expanded to build as many connections—or “bridges”—as possible within the Veterinary field. Their events now bring together diverse members of the Veterinary community to celebrate achievements and elevate the profession. The name encapsulates the spirit of connection—by building new bridges, they aim to unite the community to tackle Veterinary care challenges.

Some company names are deeply rooted in research, thoroughly investigated, and methodically crafted. These names, when heard or seen alongside their brand, convey a clear sense of identity and purpose. Petfolk is one such brand.

Launched initially as OneVet in 2020, the brand aimed to encompass the entire Veterinary ecosystem. However, co-CEO Dr. Audrey Wystrach reveals, “We realized we were more.” The team dedicated six months to an intensive process, meticulously working through details to create a brand that delivers on its promise. Collaborating with Zero Studios, they developed every aspect of the brand’s architecture.

For Wystrach, the challenge wasn’t in choosing the name but in trusting the process that led to the final name: Petfolk. The name Petfolk, being a newly coined term, allowed the company to define its identity without constraints. The name speaks to what makes Petfolk special: their nurturing care community. Whether you’re a cat person or a dog person, you’re Petfolk. The entire Veterinary team – your passion and dedication for pets make you Petfolk!

Today, Petfolk is in multiple cities and is one of the most sought-after branded merchandises at conferences.

This brief exploration of company names in Veterinary medicine has been fascinating. What other innovative brands should we research? Share your suggestions in the comments—we’re eager to discover and discuss more companies that are advancing the field of Veterinary medicine.