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Sheldon Middleton Published by the BSAVA, 2012, paperback, 224 pages, Price £25.00 (BSAVA Members £15.00), ISBN-13: 978-1-905319-51-0

The small animal general practitioner is frequently required to recall and act upon knowledge spanning the veterinary discipline, from dermatology and haematology to neurology and exotics, all within a morning's consults. The goliath texts of the practice library are often less accessible during a full afternoon of appointments or a busy solo night shift, and therefore this is precisely the setting in which the BSAVA's latest initiative aims to provide support.

The BSAVA Pocketbook for Vets condenses key points of information from a number of the BSAVA's existing resources, including the BSAVA Guide to Procedures in Small Animal Practice, the BSAVA Small Animal Formulary and various BSAVA Manuals, into a single book. Considerable thought has been given to the book's application in practice, with a durable finish and size which makes it as easily pocketed as a thermometer or pair of bandage scissors. The inside front and back covers contain useful contact numbers and emergency drug doses for quick reference and even a ruler; a handy tool in the scaling and description of radiographs.

The range of topics covered is broad and targets the most common presentations, drugs and protocols; from the Modified Glasgow Coma Scale to biological data of hamsters. There are inevitable omissions as it would be impossible to include information pertinent to every practitioner whilst keeping the book lightweight. Therefore ample space is designated for notes throughout, allowing the user to add topics which are relevant to their experience and working environment. This personalization significantly adds to the book's versatility and practical application.

The book is organised alphabetically, which at first feels quite haphazard, with an algorithm for CPCR nestled between doses of Carbimazole and Carprofen, but in practice where the priority is speed of accessing a particular nugget of information, this system is ideal. There is a brief index of drug trade/generic names to aid midnight trawls through pharmacy shelves, but the alphabetical arrangement otherwise negates the need for a bulky index. Clever use of tables, algorithms and diagrams allows information to be presented in a compact and clear manner, whilst comprehensive referencing of sources facilitates further reading where necessary. As is acknowledged in the preface, the pocketbook does not attempt to replace the practice library, but to complement it.

The most obvious group to benefit from this book would be new graduates and I believe it would greatly aid their transition into practice. By enabling them to efficiently double-check or jog the memory on key facts in an unfamiliar environment, more attention can be focussed on clinical decision-making skills. It would also be a useful point of quick reference for any clinician involved in first-opinion small animal work, regardless of level of experience.

This tiny book has been thoughtfully composed from a practitioner's perspective and its strengths shine through in abundance from the working clinician's pocket. The BSAVA Pocketbook for Vets is another useful resource in the BSAVA's arsenal in supporting its members working on the front line of small animal veterinary medicine.

After graduating from the RVC in 2010 Andy worked in charity practice at the RSPCA Greater Manchester Animal Hospital before returning to the RVC in 2012 where he is currently undertaking a Small Animal Clinical Training Scholarship.