Avian Medicine and Surgery in Practice: Companion and Aviary Birds Bob Doneley Published by Manson Publishing, 2010, hardback, 336 pages, Price £69.95, ISBN-13: 978-1840761122


  • Michelle Barrows

Avian Medicine and Surgery in Practice is a fairly compact volume that aims to summarise avian medicine for use as both a quick reference guide for the busy clinician and a study guide. Well laid out with many colour pictures and clear anatomical illustrations, the book achieves both these aims, with an emphasis on conditions of psittacine birds. The first chapter on clinical anatomy and physiology gives a thorough overview, with certain areas such as endocrine glands covered in particular detail, although the omission of any information whatsoever on the heart in this section is surprising.

Chapters on The Physical Examination, Clinical Techniques and Interpreting Diagnostic Tests follow but again an obvious omission, this time of information on interpretation of radiographs detracts somewhat from otherwise very useful chapters. The chapter on Supportive Therapy is brief in comparison but some of the topics covered, such as fluid therapy, are covered in more detail elsewhere. Differential diagnoses are summarised in chapter six. The middle section of the book is divided into 15 chapters briefly covering aetiology, clinical presentation, diagnosis and management of disorders of the various organ systems. More detail is provided on some of the more important or common systemic diseases, with chlamydiosis and mycobacteriosis for example covered in the chapters on disorders of the liver and of the gastrointestinal tract respectively. Aspergillosis however is not covered as a specific disease, either in the chapter on disorders of the respiratory system or elsewhere.

Good chapters on behavioural problems, egg incubation, paediatrics, analgesia and anaesthesia, and a well-illustrated chapter on surgery follow, along with a useful formulary which includes information on mode of action, activity and side effects as well as dose rates.

It is unfortunate that there is some repetition of the same material in different chapters (for example electrocardiography is covered both in Clinical Techniques and Disorders of the Cardiovascular System) as well as some inconsistency in information covered in more than one place. An example of this is an azithromycin dose of 40 mg/kg q 24 h given for Chlamydophila infection on p180 but a dose range of 50–80 mg/kg q 24 h given in the formulary for conditions including Chlamydophila. More thorough proof-reading would also have eliminated sentences such as ‘The epidermis covering the dermal papilla is continuous with the calamus and with a thin layer of epidermis covering the dermal papilla’.


However, in spite of these few inconsistencies and omissions, this book manages to condense a lot of information into a format that will be of great practical use to students of avian medicine and a useful addition to the practice bookshelf. Extra information on topics such as techniques involved in serological tests, mode of action of drugs and explanation of the standard electrocardiogram add an extra dimension, not found in similar texts. The author clearly draws on a wealth of experience and has written a book with much to recommend it.


Michelle is Head of Veterinary Services at Bristol Zoo Gardens, responsible for the veterinary care of the zoos diverse collection of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates. She also sees exotic pet referrals at Highcroft Veterinary Hospital and is a clinical teacher at the University of Bristol Veterinary School. She has previously worked in exotic pet practice in the UK and spent seven years working in South Africa based at Johannesburg Zoo. She holds the RCVS Diploma in Zoological medicine (avian).