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Can Vet J. 2010 April; 51(4): 374.
PMCID: PMC2839823

Manual of Skin Diseases of the Dog and Cat, 2nd edition

Reviewed by Janeen Junaid, DVM

Paterson S. Blackwell Publishing (John Wiley and Sons Ltd.), Oxford, United Kingdom, 2008. 356 pp. ISBN 10: 1-4051-6753-X. $119.99CDN. 

Are you looking for complete dermatology reference to quickly help solve a challenging case? Unfortunately, this text is not your best choice.

Into its 3rd publication, mainly in the UK, this book actually has a lot going for it, but it is difficult to navigate quickly to find guidance for a case. You will learn a lot about other skin problems during your search, because the book covers many fascinating topics, in a very readable manner. However, it will take some time to arrive at the page you really need.

The text is logically divided into several sections. Chapters 1 to 3 cover a good review of structure and function of skin, a logical approach to a dermatology case, and a review of diagnostic tests. The remainder of the book then provides an up-to-date discussion of conditions under headers of etiology; bacterial, fungal, parasitic, etc. There are useful, individual chapters on otitis externa, alopecia, and allergic and immune-mediated skin diseases, to name a few. A brief but helpful chapter on neoplastic tumors is covered. The use of tables in this chapter is excellent for presenting a large amount of important detail for each tumor.

There is a wonderful selection of photographs in this book. Often several pictures per skin condition are used; each angle of photograph highlighting an important aspect. Tables are found frequently, especially to cover diagnostic tests or treatment options that are currently available. This approach works very well in the chapter on otitis externa.

Although this book is written by a British veterinarian, there is very good cross-over to the Canadian setting. Generic names rather than trade names of drugs are used. There is no regional preference for common conditions that would not necessarily be found in Canada.

The main drawback to this text is that there is no easy guide to follow when hunting down an elusive diagnosis. Other textbooks that I have read list differential diagnoses; broken down by diseases of seborrhoea, nodules, pruritis, erosive, vesicular, or localized to face, or feet. Certainly a challenge for new veterinarians, even the most experienced vet can become stumped with a case and need some guidance. This text requires that you have a pretty good idea what chapter you are looking for at the start of your search. I tested my theory with a few imaginary cases and became quite frustrated at the amount of time required to search for a possible diagnosis.

I think that this text would also benefit from diagnostic flow sheets and appendices for the various drugs and topical shampoos and conditioners that are commonly used. Currently they are scattered throughout the book, again making it more onerous to find.

In review, I found the Manual of Skin Diseases of the Dog and Cat to be a wonderful study of dermatology. It is concise and complete and guaranteed to teach something new every time you open it. It just might not be what you are looking for as a practical, quick, dermatology reference book.

Articles from The Canadian Veterinary Journal are provided here courtesy of Canadian Veterinary Medical Association