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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Julia K Whittington, DVM (University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine)
Description: This book covers the husbandry, medicine, surgery, and special anatomy of ferrets. Updated from the first edition in 2000, this is largely the work of the author, but it does contain contributions from several notable experts in the field of ferret medicine. Interspersed throughout the chapters are sidebars titled "Author's clinical example" or "clinical case," which help to underscore points in the text and give the material a conversational feel.
Purpose: The author's stated purpose is to give veterinary practitioners a tool for providing care to ferrets and communicating with ferret owners. Additionally, the author hopes to increase the quality of care given to ferrets. These are noble ideals and the non-U.S. based viewpoint that permeates the book distinguishes this from other similar resources currently available.
Audience: Practitioners who are working with ferrets in a small animal practice setting are the intended audience. Specifically, the author indicates that small animal veterinarians working with pet dogs and cats will find the book useful while caring for ferrets, "one of the three carnivores sharing the home of man." The author's credentials indicate that he has extensive experience with ferrets and a good understanding of associated husbandry, medicine, and surgery. It is obvious from the book, largely written by the author, that he has a passion for these creatures and is interested in advancing the field of ferret medicine.
Features: Approximately one-third of the book is dedicated to husbandry issues. One notable addition to this section is an excellent discussion of ferret genetics which is largely omitted by most books. Although the book makes good use of images, the quality of some of the images is less than ideal. The many tables, schematics, and diagrams are excellent additions. Medicine and surgery are split into two sections, which is a little inefficient when covering a topic that fits in both, but the author cross-references these well. Some may feel that the unconventional conversational tone of the book diminishes it, but it does not distract from the content. The most notable problem with the book is the small font size.
Assessment: This book was a pleasure to read and it offers refreshing exposure to a field of exotic animal practice dominated by a U.S. perspective. It is well written with an informal feel that may appeal to pet practitioners. The second edition has incorporated current information and would be a good addition to the clinic library.