Book Reviews

Click on author name to view affiliation information

Companion Animal Ethics (UFAW Animal Welfare Series)

Peter Sandøe, Sandra Corr, & Clare Palmer

275 pages. 2016. Wiley-Blackwell/Universities Federation for Animal Welfare.

ISBN 978-1-118-37669-0. Price $54.99.

In Companion Animal Ethics, the authors (2 philosophers [Sandøe and Palmer] and 1 veterinary surgeon [Corr]) intend a “comprehensive ethical analysis” of welfare issues that often arise in the keeping and care of companion animals (specifically, dogs and cats). The authors profess that their chosen task is not one of advocacy, but of facilitating ethical discourse among stakeholders, among whom veterinarians are included. The authors' individual viewpoints rarely emerge and firm conclusions are purposely eluded in the text.

The book is arranged in 16 chapters, all of which are well organized and relatively short and end with a presentation of key points and references. The first 5 chapters are preparatory and include 2 chapters (1 and 2) that present histories of human-animal companionship and small animal veterinary medicine so brief and inconsequential to the book's stated aim that they could have been excluded. More useful are the chapters that discuss the human-animal bond (chapter 3), animal welfare as ethics and science (chapter 4), and ethical theory (chapter 5) that undergirds the subsequent analyses.

Given that the authors opted to exclusively use philosophical categories and constructs in developing their interpretive framework, some readers may conclude that the approach and the analyses it spawns are incomplete or otherwise inadequate. However, readers who work through to the end of the book will be rewarded as they encounter illuminating background information and discussion of various ethical viewpoints on a host of issues that include pet supply and demand, selective breeding, overfeeding, behavioral modification, routine neutering, cosmetic surgeries, overtreatment at life's end, euthanasia, no-kill shelters, feral cats, and the environmental impact of keeping pets. For that contribution alone, the book is a commendable read.

Reviewed by Erik M. Clary, DVM, PhD, DACVS

Carolina Veterinary Surgical Service, Durham, NC

Toxoplasma gondii—the Model Apicomplexan: Perspectives and Methods (2nd edition)

Louis M. Weiss & Kami Kim

1085 pages. 2014. Elsevier.

978-0-12-396481-6. Price $199.95.

The second edition of Toxoplasma gondii—the Model Apicomplexan: Perspectives and Methods is a must have for anyone interested in the field of Toxoplasma research. This book is a truly comprehensive guide, complete with black-and-white and colored photographs, and will be the cornerstone of any aspiring protozoologist's library. It consists of well-authored chapters written in such depth and granularity that even subject-matter experts will learn something new each time they read them. However, the writing style and format of each chapter allow the most novice parasitologists the option of reading the important information and skipping the more detailed information. Each chapter has a literature review format and is written to be a stand-alone section, which provides readers a wide spectrum for a given topic without losing that topic's perspective as it relates to the field as a whole.

The new sections added to this edition keep the book updated to the ever-changing scientific landscape. Inclusion of protein and DNA and RNA sequencing keeps this book relevant in the fields of nucleic acid research and diagnosis. This book could be, and probably has been, the basis of numerous doctoral dissertations and master theses. I applaud the International Congress on Toxoplasmosis for their efforts to keep this book up-to-date and relevant while retaining all the traditional scientific morphological identification. Overall, although I love this book for its content, layout, and ease of finding detailed information, it does have at least 1 drawback, its size. This book is quite heavy, and traveling with the book is not easy, but the sacrifice is worth it.

Reviewed by David G. Goodwin, PhD

Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, Md

Statistical Methods for Drug Safety (Chapman & Hall/CRC Biostatistics Series)

Robert D. Gibbons & Anup K. Amatya

288 pages. 2016. Chapman & Hall (an imprint of CRC Press/Taylor & Francis Group).

ISBN 978-1-4665-6184-7. Price $84.96.

The use of any drug comes with the possibility of adverse reactions; however, there are scientific challenges to concluding a direct causal relationship between a drug and a particular adverse reaction. This becomes especially difficult when drugs are studied in sick patients, in which case factors such as the frequency and severity of disease-related clinical signs, age-related changes, comorbidities, and concomitant medications must be disentangled from suspected adverse drug reactions. The authors of Statistical Methods for Drug Safety are preeminent scholars in statistical approaches to pharmacoepidemiological data and objectively review an evidence-based statistical approach to drug safety assessments. Many of the illustrations of statistical methods presented are drawn from the authors' personal participation with the Institute of Medicine and FDA on examining the conundrum of whether antidepressants used in human patients increase the risk of suicide, a condition for which they were, at least in part, designed to prevent. The hierarchy of types of data is discussed as it relates to the impact on the strength of safety conclusions. The authors present reasons why evidence from randomized controlled trials has primacy over other observational data sets. Observational data such as pharmacovigilance data and case studies have weaknesses that impact the strength of conclusions, and meta-analyses are observational studies of studies. Moreover, even when randomized controlled trial data are available, multiple comparisons introduce false-positive safety conclusions, an approach particularly favored by the FDA in an abundance of caution. In addition to the abundantly readable narrative portions, the book summarizes specific mathematical approaches used in drug safety analyses and provides detailed equations.

This 288-page book is part of the excellent Chapman & Hall/CRC Biostatistics Series. Although the authors state that the purpose of the book is to provide applied statisticians and pharmacoepidemiologists with an overview of the tools that are available for analysis of possible adverse drug reactions, I believe that it could serve a broader audience in veterinary medicine. Veterinary medicine lacks an equivalent to the National Institutes of Health; therefore, compared with human medical literature, veterinary medical literature has far fewer randomized controlled trials available for drug safety assessments. To maximize the strength of conclusions in veterinary medicine that rely heavily on observational data or small laboratory studies, academic clinicians, regulators, and drug developers could find this highly readable book useful when working with data and collaborating with statisticians.

Reviewed by Terrence P. Clark, DVM, PhD, DACVCP

Nexcyon Pharmaceuticals Inc, Madison, Wis

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 49 0 0
Full Text Views 241 131 6
PDF Downloads 34 14 0