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Cancer in small animals
  1. Sue Murphy

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Saunders Solutions in Veterinary Practice: Small Animal Oncology Rob Foale. Jackie Demetriou 224 pages, paperback, £45.99. Saunders Elsevier. 2010. ISBN 978 0 7020 2869 4

THIS paperback book is part of the ‘Saunders Solutions in Veterinary Practice’ series. The aim of the series is ‘to provide practical information on the more frequently encountered conditions in a easily accessible form based on real-life case studies,’ and, as such, ‘the book is organised under presenting sign rather than presenting pathology’. Its target audience is stated to be interested general practitioners and veterinary students in the later years of the course, and people studying for specialist qualifications.

The book delivers its aim in being accessible, and the layout is very appealing. The writing is straightforward and easily digestible, peppered with plenty of pictures, and ‘practical tip’ highlighted boxes for vets and nurses. Each chapter deals with its topic through a case-based format. There is repetition, which can be considered a strength, as the book is designed to be dipped into depending on the clinical signs, and all the relevant information about a disease entity is presented in the same place. The surgical discussions are very practical and useful for a general practice vet interested in surgery. Very usefully, common cancers of rabbits are covered. There is also a multiple-choice question section at the end of the book.

There are some shortfalls. There are some idiosyncratic choices of chemotherapeutic protocols. In the lymphoma case studies, the concurrent use of asparaginase and vincristine in the Madison-Wisconsin protocol is correctly dismissed, but it is still recommended in the appendix. The vinblastine/prednisone protocol used for mast cell tumours is not ‘commonly used once weekly for four weeks then fortnightly for four occasions’, but one that is used once a fortnight from the start. The MOPP (mechlorethamine, oncovin, procarbazine, prednisone) rescue protocol advocated for lymphoma is technically difficult to administer safely and would not be one that should be considered without a fume cupboard of some sort. The treatment of extravasation of cancer drugs is not comprehensively covered. Finally, I would have felt happier if there was a reference section at the end of each chapter.

I think this book succeeds in its intention of being accessible, and may be of use in a general practice, but does not cover topics in enough depth to be useful for a student studying for a specialist examination.

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