Book Reviews: For Your Library

The Chickens Fight Back

Reviewed by Scott D. Fitzgerald, DVM, PhD, DACVP

article image
The Chickens Fight Back is a series of essays dealing with dozens of emerging and zoonotic diseases of interest to veterinarians. Chapter 8 involves the chickens fighting back, which refers to human domestication and rearing of enormous numbers of chickens relatively cheaply, which has resulted in them becoming a human food staple throughout the world. Now, however, we uneasily monitor for a possible pandemic of avian influenza (brought to us courtesy of those same chickens) that could potentially kill millions of humans. Various human factors and influences have helped lead us to this point, including global warming, habitat destruction, and insufficient biosecurity.

The author is a veterinary epidemiologist who has spent the past 25 to 30 years criss-crossing the globe in search of zoonotic diseases in an effort to understand and control them. This book benefits from his wealth of field experience and longtime interest in ecosystem health and the interrelatedness of animal and human health, agricultural practices, environmental degradation, and local cultural practices. This book contains much first-hand experience gained during the author's travels to many exotic locales as part of missions for Veterinarians without Borders. The writing style is entertaining and often humorous but still packed with numerous details of the organisms and diseases that are being investigated.

This is not a veterinary textbook, but instead is more of a popular primer directed toward a wider audience of readers interested in current zoonotic diseases. As such, veterinary medical students and practicing veterinarians may enjoy this book as well as a wide array of medical personnel, ecologists, public health workers, and general lay public. The book is arranged into 17 chapters that are bundled into 6 major sections. These sections include introductory material, diseases people acquire from mammals and insects, diseases people acquire from birds, diseases people acquire from bats and rats, diseases people acquire from pets and livestock, and a summary section on what does the information mean and what can we do about zoonotic diseases. These chapters are relatively brief (7 to 25 pages), clearly written, and sufficiently self-contained that they can be read one at a time or in random order, depending on each reader's preferences. For readers interested in a nontechnical, up-to-date account of emerging zoonotic disease, this is the book for you.—By David Waltner-Toews. 246 pages; illustrated. Douglas & McIntyre Publishing Group, 2323 Quebec St, Ste 201, Vancouver, BC V5T 4S7, Canada. ISBN 978-1-55365-270-0. 2007. Price $17.95.

Introduction to Veterinary and Comparative Forensic Medicine

Reviewed by Ana Alcaraz, DVM, PhD, DACVP

article image
Ever since mistreating an animal became a felony instead of a misdemeanor in several states, forensic veterinary pathology has become a field of interest for those involved in diagnostic pathology. All veterinary pathologists could be called to be expert witnesses. Introduction to Veterinary and Comparative Forensic Medicine is trying to fill a gap in the literature. It consists of 13 chapters and 7 appendices that provide an overview for veterinarians interested in how veterinary medicine and the law interact in these cases. The authors are a veterinary pathologist and a lawyer, which is, in principle, the perfect combination for a book on veterinary forensics. As a result, I was expecting more from the book. However, it is merely a basic introduction to the field and does not provide new insights. The information may be valuable to readers who want to gain a general understanding of the steps taken in an investigation of animal cruelty. Unfortunately, the book is too basic to be of much use to those who will actually be conducting the investigations. Additionally, the book has many examples drawn from human medicine when it could have provided more specific examples related to veterinary medicine. Finally, the text is accompanied by an assortment of figures, which is good. The downside is that, in several situations, the comments for each figure are not readily available or are not easy to find in the text. For example, chapter 4 has 9 figures, but only Figures 4.1 and 4.5 are referred to in that chapter, whereas Figure 4.9 (which appears on page 83) is referred to in chapter 6 (page 160).—By John E. Cooper & Margaret E. Cooper. 415 pages; illustrated. Blackwell Publishing, 2121 State Ave, Ames, IA 50014-8300. ISBN 978-1-4051-1101-0. 2007. Price $119.99.

Pathology of Laboratory Rodents and Rabbits (3rd edition)

Reviewed by René Meisner, DVM, DACVP

article image
The third edition of Pathology of Laboratory Rodents and Rabbits continues to be an indispensable component of the library of anyone in a veterinary pathology residency program and an essential reference for all veterinary pathologists and clinicians who work with laboratory animals. The text maintains a concise summary of classic and potentially reemergent natural diseases affecting small laboratory animals as well as a catalogue of strain variations and age-related changes. As the authors acknowledge, many of the diseases detailed in the text may not currently be common in laboratories, but they do have the potential to reemerge.

In recognition of the prevalent use of mice in research, the most notable evolution in this edition is the expansion of the first chapter on mice, which includes a brief overview of the most commonly used strains and lists of additional online and print references that can be used to facilitate tracking down unique phenotypes for the boundless variety of genetically engineered strains.

The overall organization of the new version is the same as in the preceding versions. Chapters are on each species and subdivided by etiology. For infectious etiologies, there is a further breakdown of epizootiology and pathogenesis, pathology, diagnosis, and importance. The organization of the index has been revised to eliminate separation by species. Whether this is more or less helpful is likely a personal preference. Throughout the text, the addition of newly recognized pathogens can be found. The additional photographs of gross lesions and increased size of most photographs are improvements appreciated by this reviewer.—By Dean H. Percy & Stephen W. Barthold. 325 pages; illustrated. Blackwell Publishing, 2121 State Ave, Ames, IA 50014-8300. ISBN 978-0-8138-2101-6. 2007. Price $124.99.

Veterinary Comparative Hematopathology

Reviewed by Mary Anna Thrall, DVM, MS, DACVP

article image
Veterinary Comparative Hematopathology consists of 10 chapters and represents 35 years of collected cases as well as the vast clinical and research experience of the author. Although the textbook has a single author, experts have reviewed each chapter and are acknowledged. The title of this textbook is somewhat misleading because 9 of the 10 chapters discuss neoplastic disorders of hematopoietic tissues. Thus, including the term hematopoietic neoplasia in the title would have better described the book. As the author states in the preface, the major purpose of this book is to define hematopoietic neoplasms in domestic animals and compare them with those in humans. The first chapter describes the evolution of the classification systems for hematopoietic neoplasms. Normal and benign reactive hematopoietic tissues, including the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, and bone marrow, are discussed in the second chapter. Chapters 3 and 4 describe lymphoproliferative disorders in great detail, including neoplasms in B cells, plasma cells, T cells, and natural killer cells. Chapters 5 and 6 cover acute myeloid leukemia and chronic myeloproliferative disorders. Chapter 7 introduces the concept of myeloproliferative-myelodysplastic diseases, which have overlapping features. Chapter 8 describes myelodysplastic syndromes, and chapter 9 covers Hodgkin's lymphoma. Chapter 10 is particularly informative because it provides a topical classification for and discussion of histiocytoses. Many of the references are from the human literature, but this is understandable because some of the chapters, such as the one on Hodgkin's lymphoma, pertain primarily to diseases in humans. References are allocated on the basis of species in some instances, which is quite useful. The few weaknesses of this book are in the descriptions of nonneoplastic hematopoietic disorders, which are described only superficially and, in some cases, incorrectly, particularly in the area of lysosomal storage disorders. Nevertheless, the strengths far outweigh the weaknesses, and this book provides the veterinary community with a much needed description of neoplastic hematopoietic disorders in animals that will provide a basis for further specificity in diagnosis and treatment. The book contains 558 pages and numerous images, most of which are of excellent quality. This book will be most valuable to veterinary pathologists and oncologists and is certainly worth the price.—By Victor E. Valli. 558 pages; illustrated. Blackwell Publishing, 2121 State Ave, Ames, IA 50014-8300. ISBN 978-0-8138-0924-3. 2007. Price $199.99.

Bears: Health and Management

Reviewed by Christine V. Fiorello, DVM, PhD, DACZM

article image
Bears: Health and Management is an encyclopedia-type CD-ROM. The stated goal of the book is to provide information critical to improving the health and management of bears, particularly those in captivity, whether long-term or for rearing or rehabilitation prior to release.

The CD contains an immense amount of information and references, which is organized by species and disease. It seems to be geared more toward husbandry and rehabilitation staff than toward veterinarians, but those veterinarians who treat bears occasionally will find it helpful. Data are provided in a consistent format, thus facilitating comparisons among species. Photographs are provided for each bear species and for many topics, although the quality and usefulness of the photographs vary and photographs are notably lacking for some topics (such as parasitic agents). Many relevant documents in PDF format are also included, such as guidelines and reports from governmental and international agencies. Two flowcharts (1 on husbandry and 1 on diseases) are placed prominently on the title page, but the link to one of these is invalid. For some topics, general information pertaining to zoo mammals is provided first, with specific considerations for bears at the end. Each section contains a summary, which is followed by details listed in bullet format. This is somewhat repetitive but makes it quite easy to find specific content.

The CD is a fairly complete reference, but it does have some disadvantages. The number of invalid links is disappointing, especially given the price of the CD. Another flaw is the references, which are organized in a rather cumbersome and inefficient way. However, I believe that, overall, the authors have achieved their goal, and those working with captive bears will find this a useful addition to their library.—By Debra C. Bourne & Gracia Vila-Garcia. 1 CD-ROM; illustrated. Wildlife Information Network, The Royal Veterinary College, Royal College St, London, NW1 0TU, England. ISBN 978-0-9551628-2-4. 2008. Price $89.95.

Techniques in Large Animal Surgery (3rd edition)

Review by Earl M. Gaughan, DVM, DACVS

article image
Techniques in Large Animal Surgery is a welcome update and revision to preceding textbooks specific to equine surgery. Individual procedures are clearly described and readily provided in a logical stepwise progression. Indications for each surgical procedure are reviewed and provided in such a manner as to reinforce clinical considerations for surgery. Known and anticipated complications are also indicated in concise and applicable manners. Perhaps the most positive elements of this textbook are the illustrations. The line drawings and artists' renderings are accurate and easily understood. This textbook would be a welcome addition for the instruction of veterinary surgery as well as a ready reference and review text for use in the surgery suite. The first 7 chapters are most applicable to the introductory instruction of large animal surgery, and there are a large number of photographs of surgical instruments. The chapters dedicated to procedural descriptions are clearly written and appropriate for surgeons with all stages of experience. The addition of farm animal surgical procedures in this third edition enhances the textbook's utility and broadens the potential audience. The likely frequency with which large animal surgeons would refer to this textbook prior to performing surgery and the usefulness it provides for teaching appear to make this book well worth the purchase price.—By Dean A. Hendrickson. 312 pages; illustrated. Blackwell Publishing, 2121 State Ave, Ames, IA 50014-8300. ISBN 978-0-7817-8255-5. 2007. Price $99.99.

Handbook of Veterinary Pain Management (2nd edition)

Reviewed by Alicia Z. Karas, DVM

article image
The second edition of the Handbook of Veterinary Pain Management is, similar to the first edition, a small paperback volume jam-packed with useful information. In essence, the textbook provides information on why pain should be managed, how it can be assessed and managed, and physiologic and pharmacologic bases for nearly every type of treatment in use. One of the most useful aspects is a series of case examples. Each major analgesic drug modality has at least 1 entire chapter devoted to it, and adjunctive drugs and nutraceuticals are also covered. Detailed instructions and figures should enable practitioners to try new methods of local or regional analgesia. Still included are valuable chapters on ethics, pharmacologic principles, pain scoring, and pain associated with cancer as well as a glossary of terms and an appendix with species-specific drug doses.

Slightly bigger and much heavier with a larger font size and improved demarcation of text boxes, the second edition lies open on a desk more easily than does its predecessor, which makes it easier to read. Chapter formats vary from entirely outline and bullet points to well-written text; chart or table formats are enhanced by shading, and photographs, figures, and diagrams supplement the chapters. There is new content from a dozen additional authors and 8 new chapters, including chapters on analgesia in cats, birds, reptiles, and ferrets and rabbits. Nonpharmacologic methods of pain relief are covered in a chapter on complementary and alternative veterinary medicine and in chapters on canine and feline rehabilitation. Two new chapters on quality of life and hospice and palliative care are a testament to the evolving nature of veterinary pain medicine.

This textbook represents an extraordinary effort to be an all-inclusive text, and as such, it should be useful to veterinary medical students, technicians, general practitioners, and specialists, including laboratory animal veterinarians. It is definitely worth replacing the first edition with this edition, particularly for a small animal practice that treats exotic patients. In many cases, the book can be quickly consulted to obtain a dose or a fact; in other cases, it is necessary to read portions of several chapters to obtain information on a new technique. The book is adequately indexed. Although many nonpharmacologic techniques are described in various chapters, the case examples could incorporate more of such modalities (application of ice to surgical sites or nutraceutical use in animals with chronic pain) to illustrate their use. Adding chapters on exotic pets has helped temper the inevitable species bias; in approximately the first 22 chapters, nearly all authors write from a perspective of treating dogs or cats. In this second edition, the sole chapter on pain management in large animals has been expanded from horses to horses and cattle. If large animals and other species are slighted, it is not because of a lack of the editors' concern for horses or farm animals, but more from a general lack of information and research and specific limitations in those species. The development of cutting-edge pain-management techniques for canine and feline patients has progressed to a far greater degree than for other animal species. This textbook is as progressive as it can be, and it is definitely worth the cost.—By James S. Gaynor & William W. Muir III. 641 pages; illustrated. Elsevier-Mosby, 11830 Westline Industrial Dr, St Louis, MO 63146. ISBN 978-0-323-04679-4. 2009. Price $56.95.

Small Animal Veterinary Nerdbook (3rd edition)

Reviewed by Richard K. Martin DVM, DACVIM

article image
The author states that the third edition of the Small Animal Veterinary Nerdbook is more user-friendly and serves as a guide for veterinary medical students and new graduates. Reminiscent of small notebooks that many veterinarians crammed full of clinical facts during their clinical training during veterinary medical school or internships, this book serves exactly as the author states. The book is divided into 21 sections on organ systems as well as topics such as anesthesia, clinical pathology, and cytology. Each section begins with a formulary pertinent to that topic. The material is appropriately organized and written in a format that is easy to comprehend, and it is extremely clinically oriented. For example, the section on endocrinology covers those conditions most often encountered in the examination room—diabetes mellitus, hypoadrenocorticism and hyperadrenocorticism, hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, and calcium abnormalities. This book will boost every reader's confidence when they enter an examination room. I highly recommend this book, especially for veterinary medical students and new graduates.—By Sophia Yin. Variant pagination; illustrated. CattleDog Publishing, PO Box 4516, Davis, CA 95617-4516. ISBN 978-0-9641518-3-3. 2007. Price $72.00.

BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Dentistry (3rd edition)

Reviewed by Ben H. Colmery III, DVM, DACVDC

article image
The British Small Animal Veterinary Association has published the third edition of its basic text on small animal dentistry. The BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Dentistry is an appropriately referenced text that covers the typical oral cavity conditions in animals examined by veterinarians. This textbook is vastly superior to earlier textbooks on small animal dentistry. The illustrations and photographs are of excellent quality, which reflects the vast improvements in photography. The intraoral radiographs are not quite as spectacular but are more than adequate for representing the various diseases discussed. The subject matter is complete for general practitioners, leaving the areas of endodontic treatments and advanced oral surgery to trained specialists.

The explanations for various medical disorders of the oral cavity are thorough, although there is an error involving Bartonella henselae, the causative agent of human cat scratch fever in felids. The author states that Haemobartonella henselae is a parasitic disease that does not appear to be involved with inflammatory disease in the mouth of cats. Haemobartonella felis is the organism involved in feline infectious anemia. Bartonella henselae is a gram-negative, fastidious, intracellular bacterium that is emerging as an important player in disease in cats. Other than this, the overall medical management of animals with oral cavity disease represents the current thoughts in the veterinary dental field. The outstanding features of the textbook include the chapters on oral surgery and extraction techniques. In addition, the chapters on instrumentation and operator safety and health considerations are particularly useful. This book should be an extremely useful reference for the recognition and treatment of typical oral conditions in small animals examined by veterinary practitioners.— By Cedric Tutt, Judith Deeprose, & David Crossley. 204 pages; illustrated. Blackwell Publishing, 2121 State Ave, Ames, IA 50014-8300. ISBN 978-0-905214-87-0. 2007. Price $149.99.

Handbook of Veterinary Clinical Research

Reviewed by David C. Dorman, DVM, PhD, DABVT

article image
The Handbook of Veterinary Clinical Research provides a concise and useful primer for the conduct of veterinary clinical trials and other forms of clinical research and largely meets the authors' stated goal of helping veterinarians to increase the quantity and quality of veterinary clinical research. Subjects addressed include funding sources and proposal writing, protocols and experimental designs, types of clinical trials, ethical and legal considerations, questionnaire design, study conduct, data management and analysis, and writing and reviewing scientific papers. Each chapter begins with a list of clearly defined objectives and ends with a series of multiple-choice questions that assist in reviewing the materials. Most chapters have 1 or more examples drawn from published veterinary clinical trials that highlight key concepts described in the chapters. The figures and tables used to illustrate additional materials are generally well conceived and complement material provided in the text. Although references are by no means exhaustive, each chapter contains adequate references with additional reading materials provided. This book provides more depth than breadth on this complicated topic. This is most noticeable in the chapters that discuss statistical methods, where only power analyses and selection of study size are thoroughly addressed. Chapters providing information on research funding and ethical considerations lack wide application outside of the United Kingdom. This book will have only limited appeal to most practicing veterinarians. Despite that, this book will be welcomed by veterinarians and veterinary medical students currently involved in or who have completed advanced clinical or research training.—By Mark Holmes & Peter Cockcroft. 221 pages; illustrated. Blackwell Publishing, 2121 State Ave, Ames, IA 50014-8300. ISBN 978-0-4051-4551-0. 2008. Price $59.99.