Barbara L. Oglesbee, Published by Wiley-Blackwell, 2011, 2nd edition, hardback, 712 pages, £58.99, ISBN-13: 978–0813820187

The first thing to point out about this textbook is that, whilst it is technically the second edition of the 2006 text “The 5-minute Veterinary Consult: Ferret and Rabbit”, it is rather more than its predecessor both in its size (692 pages compared to the 422), and species covered, as it expands on the rather disparate ferret and rabbit by adding chinchillas, guinea pigs and small rodents. Whilst rabbits and ferrets are still well served here, this makes it a more well rounded and potentially useful text in practice.

The title does more or less what it says on the tin. The individual sections are a good compromise between being comprehensive monographs, and being short enough to literally read in 5 minutes prior to a consult. Each entry is subdivided according to the systematic and logical approach adopted across the whole range of titles in this series. An introduction and basics heading details definitions, anatomical and physiological background also includes history taking and physical examination, before headings covering diagnosis, treatment, medications, follow up, and a “miscellaneous” heading which includes both related sections that are worth cross referencing, and possible further reading on the topic. The monograph author(s) are listed at the end of each section, and include a number of widely respected authorities on their individual subject matter. This is a predominantly US authored text, which may place more emphasis on clinical conditions that are found predominantly in North America than Europe, and lists drugs which are not available internationally, as well as, in the text, using US rather than SI units for some clinical parameters (although reference ranges are helpfully provided in the appendices, with both units included). Other appendices contain a brief formulary and normal values. The index is well constructed, allowing easy reference to the relevant presenting sign section.

The text includes relatively recent emerging conditions such as Ferret systemic coronavirus, and of recent treatment modalities such as the use of Gonadotrophin Releasing Hormone, but does not contain up to date current treatment protocols for its use, and still recommends ovarohysterectomy rather than GnRH implants for oestrus prevention.

There is, of necessity, some overlap in the coverage of related conditions, and between related species. This is a reasonable compromise between the need for repeated cross referencing and extensive repetition, but it does mean that information may be missed without reading related sections.

Some sections leave the reader wanting more detail, but the reading lists provide excellent sources for that. It is sometimes a shame that there are no illustrations, save for the rather simplistic anatomy diagrams on the inside of each cover, but that is not realistically within this textbooks remit.

A range of useful client handouts (covering such topics as Abscesses in rabbits and Ovarian cysts in Guinea pigs) and a bonus chapter on weight loss in rodents are available online, in supplementary material associated with the textbook, accessed via a secret password in the text.

The succinct and practical nature of the book makes it an excellent handy reference guide, with a surprising amount of detail on each condition. It is not a comprehensive textbook, nor is it intended to be, but an very worthwhile first line reference for the busy clinician, especially one seeing species with which (s)he is relatively unfamiliar.


  1. Top of page
  2. Biography
  • Richard Saunders studied in Liverpool and qualified in 1994. He has worked in general small animal practice, with British wildlife at the RSPCA Norfolk Wildlife Hospital, in referral avian and exotic practice, and recently completed a residency in zoo and rabbit medicine at Bristol, where he is currently working part time for Bristol Zoo Gardens, and part time as the veterinary advisor for the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund.