Small Animal Neurological Emergencies


  • Harry William Scott

Simon Platt And Laurent Garosi Published by Manson Publishing, 2012, hardback, 672 pages, Price £125.00, ISBN-13: 978–1840761528

There has been a recent plethora of new and updated neurology texts reflecting something of a renaissance in veterinary neurology over the last decade. The authors of this book have adopted a novel approach compared with standard neurology tomes in which they have focused on the consideration of emergency cases rather than attempting to give a complete overview of the subject.

The book is divided into four sections which are arranged sequentially starting with ‘Admission and neurodiagnostic tests’, through ‘Decision making’ and ‘Specific emergencies’ to ‘Specific management issues’. The main bulk of the text is devoted to the sections entitled ‘Decision making’, in which common clinical syndromes such as seizures and exercise-associated weakness and collapse are discussed, and ‘Specific emergencies’, in which clinical presentations such as status epilepticus and acute disc disease are addressed. In each chapter clear explanations of aetiology and pathophysiology are followed by a discussion of diagnosis and management. There are two further sections including preliminary chapters under the heading of ‘Admission and neurodiagnostic tests’ and a final section entitled ‘Specific management issues’. The former provides a comprehensive review of a number of topics written in the context of the neurological emergency including neurological examination, respiratory and cardiovascular support, metabolic evaluation, imaging and CSF analysis. The latter provides a grounding in the basics of emergency neuroanaesthesia, analgesia, fluid therapy, and postoperative supportive care and physical rehabilitation. Additionally there are useful appendices on emergency drug use, units and reference ranges and a blood transfusion monitoring sheet.

The two main authors, who are both well known and highly respected clinicians and teachers of neurology, have produced an erudite and user-friendly source of information. In the process they have written a book which goes a long way towards demystifying the inherently complex subject matter. Unusually for a multi-author text the main authors have performed the impressive feat of assembling an array of contributors from across the globe whilst maintaining overall continuity of style and content. The book is lavishly illustrated in colour throughout as might be expected with a text from this publishing house and also includes many radiographs, CTs and MRIs. A particular feature is the use of imaginative schematics to help explain the aetiology and pathophysiology of the conditions described. There are also numerous tables with lists of differential diagnoses and flow charts which guide the reader through a logical and step-wise approach to the investigation of cases.

Figure 1.

‘Small Animal Neurological Emergencies’ will appeal to any small animal practitioner who has ever been presented with a neurological emergency and needed access to accurate and concise information to help guide investigation and treatment. The book is a welcome addition to the literature; although not inexpensive, it represents good value for money and as such deserves a place on the bookshelf of every small animal practice library. The impetus for purchasing this book for the majority of readers is likely to be the stated aim of the authors, which is that of helping with rapid and practical decision-making in the emergency situation, and to this end the book is a great success.

Overall, more detail is provided than might be required by the general practitioner but it is easy to dip into the relevant sections as required. There is sufficient depth of information for this book to be on the required reading list for students, residents and neurology specialists.

Harry is head of orthopaedics at a multidisciplinary private referral practice in Hampshire. His interests include complex fracture repair, joint replacement and neurosurgery. He is a Fellow of the RCVS in canine spinal surgery and has recently started an ECVN approved residency in neurology and neurosurgery leading to European specialist status in veterinary neurology.