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Skin Diseases of Exotic Pets.

Skin Diseases of Exotic Pets. S. Patterson (ed). Blackwell Science Ltd., Ames, IA, USA. 2006. 333 pp. Price $74.99. ISBN 0-632-05969-9.

Dermatologic conditions of exotic species are the focus of this book, and it the first text devoted exclusively to dermatologic conditions of exotic species. The book is divided into sections, each of which examines a specific class of animals. The first section focuses on birds, the second on reptiles, the third on fish, and the fourth on mammals. Each section contains chapters on the structure and function of skin, how to examine the skin, and specific descriptions of skin diseases.

The avian section begins by describing the structure and function of avian skin and its associated structures (Chapter 1). Photomicrographs of histologic sections are provided for better explanation. The chapter further describes specialized adnexal structures, such as the uropygial gland and feathers. The second chapter describes diagnostic techniques, such as feather examination, pulp cytology, tape strip examinations, impression smears, and skin biopsy. Chapters 3, 4, and 5 describe skin diseases of caged birds, raptors, and waterfowl, respectively. The caged bird chapter focuses mostly on psittacine species, with a limited amount of information on pigeons, canaries, and hornbills. Most diseases that affect the skin are reviewed in this chapter, and recommended therapy is suggested. Chapters that focus on skin diseases of raptors and waterfowl are shorter but similar to the chapter on caged birds.

Few pictures are provided throughout the book, and the associated descriptions are often inadequate. For example, photographs of a normal uropygial gland from a variety of avian species would have been useful. Diagnostic tests are discussed; however, no photographs are provided on the "how to" of techniques or what normal (or abnormal) findings might look like under the microscope. Psittacine beak and feather disease is described, but there are no photographs of the characteristic feather abnormalities. Similarly, various types of dermatitis and neoplastic conditions of caged birds are described, but no photographs are provided. Some descriptions lack detail; for example, more detailed descriptions of the stages and therapy of raptor pododermatitis lesions, with appropriate images, would have been helpful.

In several sections, information is not current. Papillomatous lesions associated with herpesvirus infections in psittacine birds cannot correctly be called papillomas. A short section with a photograph discusses avian intradermal testing. However, the information in the text is equivocal as to whether this method is reliable in birds, whereas recent information indicates that results from intradermal skin testing in birds are inconsistent and use of this test should not be recommended until further studied. There was also no discussion of what might be considered normal avian skin flora.

Overall, this book is an adequate review of avian and other exotic animal skin diseases and treatments. Unfortunately, because many species in addition to birds are included in the book, the detail provided for each is less than desired in a text that is devoted to dermatology. Most dermatology texts rely heavily on images, not only to identify the disease in the animal but also to illustrate diagnostic samples from tests, such as tape prep examinations and impression smears. The images in this book are not adequate to allow it to be used solely for the diagnosis of dermatologic diseases in exotic species. Although this text can be a useful addition to the bookshelf, it needs to be used in conjunction with other texts that focus more specifically on one class of animals.--Reviewed by Marcy J. Souza, DVM, University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA.
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Author:Souza, Marcy J.
Publication:Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery
Date:Jun 1, 2007
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