Admittedly not a book that every pet owner wants or needs on her bookshelf, Barbara A. Kummel's Small Animal Dermatology from the Self-Assessment Picture Tests in Veterinary Medicine series is a winner. Concise and well-illustrated, this book contains a wealth of information in a riveting format.
This handbook-sized manual is intended more for the veterinary student than the layperson, and while the language is sophisticated, it is readable and even a bit fun. The first 114 pages present 250 brief cases, almost all of them accompanied by an illustrative, color photograph. A few questions accompany each case to quiz the reader on diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, and even zoonotic potential.
The answers to the quiz questions may be found in the remaining 40 or so pages at the back of the book. A detailed index helps one to locate specific conditions by name, symptom, or breed illustrated.
To be sure, the photographs are graphic and often rather grotesque. A sensitive reader probably doesn't want to see pictures of the maggot infestation on a dog's abdomen. A Westie with severe flea bite dermatitis isn't much easier to look at. A Siamese cat with systemic lupus erythematosus whose entire face is ulcerated looks like something out of a horror movie. The pictures - often tragic - are clearly not for the faint of heart.
That being said, a picture really is worth a thousand words, and the format of this book makes the information compelling to read and absorb. I had to chuckle at the photo of the healthy Chinese Crested and the accompanying text that asked, "Does this dog have a skin disease?" Perhaps less amusing is the photo of the human ankle covered with flea bites. Many of the photos illustrate various tumors, hormone-related disorders, and autoimmune conditions.
This book won't tell you all there is to know about the disorders included, but that isn't its purpose. I found it a useful springboard that whet my desire to learn more about some of the various conditions presented. If you have an interest in small animal dermatology or health, this book is excellent. Admittedly not a book for everyone, those who appreciate this type of book will find this one a lot of fun simply based on its offbeat format and excellent illustration.
Kate Connick |
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