Veterinary Hematology: A Diagnostic Guide and Color Atlas - by John W. Harvey


  • Gerry Polton

Veterinary Hematology: A Diagnostic Guide and Color Atlas, John W. Harvey, Published by Saunders, 2011, paperback, 368 pages, Price £51.99, ISBN-13: 978–1437701739

This book is designed as a ready reference for all with an interest in veterinary haematology, from the student of veterinary medicine through to the specialist in clinical pathology. This is a new edition of a previously published book and I think it will be universally seen as an improvement on what was already an excellent resource. Without doubt, the feature of this book which distinguishes it as a must-have is the number and quality of illustrations, both photomicrographs and drawn figures. Other texts endeavour to adopt the position of authoritative resource on this subject, but fail to educate the enthusiastic learner through a lack of sufficiently clear and numerous images.

The style of this book is to present haematology from a physiological and pathophysiological perspective. Chapters are divided into sections on erythrocytes, leucocytes and coagulation, rather than being divided according to diagnosis: for example, infectious diseases, neoplastic diseases, intoxications. As a clinician I find the chosen approach more useful as it supports a problem-oriented approach to the case management style of learning more than the scholarly approach to learning which starts with the diagnosis and works backwards.

The primary reason this book might fail to satisfy is the resolute refusal to provide clinical management advice. This is a book that focuses solely on the clinical pathology aspects of veterinary haematology. I find this approach absolutely appropriate; the author is an internationally recognised expert in his field and it would be inappropriate to espouse wisdom in fields for which he does not have the same expertise. However, I recognise that this will frustrate the practitioner who is looking for a resource that provides more complete diagnostic and therapeutic guidance.

It is also important to note that the information presented primarily pertains to domestic dogs and cats. Generic information can of course be applied across the board and there are inclusions about a number of other non-canine/feline mammalian species. To a non-expert enthusiast, this appears a reasonably complete veterinary haematology text.

The references provided at the end of each chapter appear to be extremely complete and will make this a very useful and simple resource for the intern, resident and academic.

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In my view the greatest omission from this book is a discussion of the technique and application of flow cytometry to veterinary haematology. This is a critical element of the evaluation of disorders presenting with leucocytosis and is likely to become increasingly valuable in the characterisation of lymphoma subtypes. This is not a book about veterinary haemato-oncology so perhaps this is an unfair criticism. Perhaps this is an inclusion that is in preparation for the next edition..?

Gerry Polton

Gerry is a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in the sub-specialty of oncology and an RCVS Recognised Specialist in Veterinary Oncology. He runs the oncology service at North Downs Specialist Referrals, a private multidisciplinary specialist hospital in the South East of England. He is an active volunteer for BSAVA, sitting on his local regional committee and in his role as Reviews Editor for JSAP.