BOOKS: Shelter Medicine for Veterinarians & Staff & WorldAnimalNet International Directory of Animal Protection Organizations

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2004:

Shelter Medicine for Veterinarians & Staff
Edited by Lila Miller & Stephen Zawistowski
Blackwell Pub. (2121 State Ave., Ames, IA 50014), 2004. 546
pages, paperback. $74.95.

WorldAnimalNet International Directory of Animal Protection Organizations
Edited by Wim DeKok
WorldAnimalNet (19 Chestnut Sq., Boston, MA 02130), 2004. 554
pages, paperback. $29.95.

Shelter Medicine for Veterinarians & Staff and the
WorldAnimalNet International Directory of Animal Protection
Organizations are references so useful and so essential that, like
the National Animal Control Association Training Guide, they belong
on the most convenient shelf of every animal shelter library–and if
your shelter does not have a library, nail up a shelf and start one
with these three books.
Assembled by American SPCA senior director of animal services
and veterinary advisor Lila Miller and senior vice president and
science advisor Stephen Zawistowski, Shelter Medicine for
Veterinarians & Staff is the closest approach yet to an encyclopedia
of veterinary issues encountered in humane work.

The 37 contributors have a combined total of close to 1,000
years of experience in shelter clinics. Chapters cover all the
familiar humane conference workshop topics, and much else that
rarely gets workshop attention but comes up almost every day here at
ANIMAL PEOPLE, as shelter directors and vets scramble to deal with
unforeseen emergencies by calling here to find out who has urgently
needed information.
Among the more unusual but critical topic headings are “The
Administrative Hurdles of Shelter Medicine,” “Legal Concerns for
Shelters & Shelter Veteterinarians,” “Nutritional Challenges for
Shelter Animals,” “Disease Recognition & Diagnostic Testing,” and
“Veterinary Forensics.”
Is everything covered that needs to be? Probably not, but
even though Shelter Medicine for Veterinarians & Staff was 14 years
in development, it represents a first attempt to cover a
fast-expanding field, at a time when veterinary knowledge is
expanding exponentially. What can be said is that more is covered,
in greater depth, than in any other single volume.
Possibly because no one thought to mention the obvious, no
attention seems to have been given in the extensive sections on vet
care of small mammals, rabbits, birds, and reptiles to the
psychological stresses associated with housing predators and prey in
the same building.
Most shelter staff should nonetheless remember that trying to
keep both Sylvester and Tweety in the same household drove both of
them nuts.
Neither did anyone mention in Shelter Medicine for Veterinarians &
Staff that snakes housed in any facility not specifically designed to
contain them tend to find ways to escape. That can be a heck of a
problem for everyone in a shelter, especially if the snakes are
venomous and are being kept as evidence in a court case.
A great deal could be added to the “Veterinary Forensics”
section about distinguishing wounds inflicted by natural predators of
dogs and cats from wounds resulting from dominance disputes among
dogs and cats. Likewise, more could be said about distinguishing
wounds caused by deliberate sadism from those caused by common
accidents, e.g. when a feral cat sleeps on a warm automobile engine.
Of note, however, is that Shelter Medicine for
Veterinarians & Staff may be the first text of any kind to give
“Veterinary Forensics” any attention at all.
What it includes is excellent. What is missing can be
included in the next edition.
The $74.95 price may cause some shelter directors to pause in
ordering Shelter Medicine for Veterinarians & Staff, and indeed that
is a lot of money compared to the usual price of a 546-page paperback
book. However, it is not a high price as peer-reviewed professional
manuals go, as most professional people who donate to humane work
would probably recognize. If Shelter Medicine for Veterinarians &
Staff appeared on a shelter’s wish-list in a newsletter, I think
most shelters would soon get at least one copy.
No one needs to spend $29.95 for the paperback edition of the
WorldAnimalNet International Directory of Animal Protection
Organizations in order to use it, since all of the information it
contains is online at <>.
Still, most people can find organizations faster in the
printed edition than by going online, and that can be enormously
advantageous for anyone handling calls from the public.
The 2004 edition is nearly twice the size of the 1999 first
edition, reflecting both the rapid growth of the humane movement,
worldwide, and the diligence of editor Wim DeKok in tracking down
new organizations, wherever they may be, frequently exchanging
information with ANIMAL PEOPLE publisher Kim Bartlett.
There is no more comprehensive guide to who does what,
where. I don’t think I have opened any book more often in the past
five years than the first edition, and anticipate that the 2004
edition will get similar use.

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