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Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents: Clinical Medicine and Surgery, Katherine Quesenberry and James W. Carpenter. Published by Elsevier, 2012, 3rd edition, paperback, 608 pages, Price £51.99, ISBN-13: 978-1416066217

“The pink book”, as it has been commonly known for its first two incarnations, has developed a more multicoloured look for its 3rd edition, both inside and out. The front cover benefits from a generally more modern design, whilst mostly retaining its familiar look, and inside the move to colour images throughout is a major benefit. Whilst the previous edition made use of black and white for the vast majority of its illustrations, this edition's use of colour is hugely useful in allowing the clinician, who may be relatively unfamiliar with species or conditions described here, to obtain an excellent idea of normal and pathological appearances.

The book is almost 30% longer than its immediate predecessor, and those pages contain, in addition to the lavish and generally high quality illustrations, many new and expanded sections. To take a single, but crucial, topic, the new small mammal dentistry chapter is both considerably longer and better illustrated (the use of step-by-step images is particularly useful in this and the surgery sections in helping the relatively inexperienced surgeon). This text arrives at a time when relatively new technologies have added a considerable amount of information to our understanding, diagnosis and treatment of small mammal disease, and oral endoscopic examination, and the use of advanced imagining modalities such as computerized tomography are covered well here.

Multiple, highly respected authors cover ferrets, rabbits and, unsurprisingly, rodents, in the text. The more difficult to pigeonhole sugar gliders and African hedgehogs are also discussed. The removal of a specific chapter on prairie dogs is a shame, as these animals are seen, not uncommonly, in the UK, but is perhaps not unexpected given the zoonotic disease issues encountered in this species in the US, which resulted in a Center for Disease Control ban on their sale.

It is also worth noting that, in addition to being a multi-author text, there has been greater use of multiple authors in writing individual chapters and sections. In some chapters (for example dermatology and neurology), this has allowed a synergistic approach from exotic animal clinicians and those with a specific discipline specialization. This “best of both worlds” approach brings even greater expertise to the text, and widens both its appeal and its authority on such topics.

New chapters have been added, with the excellent and much needed inclusion of “Emergency and critical care of small mammals”. This is a topic which demands an easy, concise and logical layout, and the first thing that hits the eye, on opening the chapter is a subtly but effectively highlighted CP(C)R protocol, with immediate doses detailed there, and further doses easily located on the next page. Other highlighted tables detail the fluid therapy and approaches to renal failure and gastric stasis.

Behaviour is a much neglected topic in more mainstream species, let alone exotic mammals, but given the high incidence of behavioural problems or perceived behavioural problems, particularly in rabbits, with their not infrequent result being isolation or abandonment of the pet, this chapter is most welcome.

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This is very much a US textbook, with an emphasis on species and conditions more commonly seen in North America than in Europe. However, that does not limit its usefulness in the UK and continental Europe, as long as one is aware of these differences. In any case, emerging diseases such as ferret neoplasia are becoming more commonly diagnosed in Europe.

This is a useful update to a text which was already one of the most useful books available on these species, and the changes made to it have improved its ease of use, particularly in a busy practice.

Richard Saunders

Richard Saunders qualified from Liverpool University in 1994, where he also intercalated in Zoology. He worked in general small animal practice and obtained his CertZooMed in 2001. After that, he continued to work in avian/exotic and wildlife practice, and undertook a residency in Rabbit and Zoo Animal Medicine and Surgery at Bristol Zoological Gardens, before obtaining his DZooMed (Mammalian), in 2010. He is currently Staff Veterinarian at Bristol Zoological Gardens, a Clinical Teacher at the University of Bristol, and the Veterinary Adviser to the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund.