Merck & Co., Inc., has a long history of providing medical information to health care professionals, beginning in 1899 with the publication of Merck's Manual of the Materia Medica. This small book was meant as an aid to physicians and pharmacists, reminding doctors that “Memory is treacherous.” Over the years, the book, now known as The Merck Manual, has grown to over 3,500 pages and has become the world’s largest-selling medical text.
With the ever-important role of all types of animals in our society and the growth of veterinary medicine in the last several decades, Merck extended its commitment of providing medical information to all those involved in animal health and well-being with publication of The Merck Veterinary Manual (MVM). Although this text has also grown substantially from its first edition in 1955, the print edition can still fit in the glove compartment of a mobile veterinary vehicle, and its availability in electronic forms offers additional capabilities to enhance quick access to needed information. Regardless of format, the MVM remains true to its original objective: a concise, easy-to-use, comprehensive reference that covers the diversity of species and animal diseases worldwide.
The MVM is organized into sections that focus on discussions of each body system and its specific disorders, or that focus on a special topic of significance in veterinary medicine, such as behavior, exotic and laboratory animals, management and nutrition, and toxicology. Coverage is straightforward and practical, with explicit recommendations given for treatment whenever possible. The succinct discussions also serve to give readers enough information so that they have a good foundation for seeking out and understanding more detailed information available elsewhere.
The MVM is often relied on for areas not commonly encountered in the daily routine of an individual animal health professional. This is no more evident than in the growing role of veterinarians in today’s environment, in which general practitioners and specialists alike must practice awareness and vigilance in recognizing the impact of the international movement of animals, maintaining a safe food supply, and minimizing the spread of infectious animal disease and the threat of zoonoses.
Thanks are due to those who worked on the previous print edition of the MVM, in particular Cynthia M. Kahn and Scott Line, DVM, PhD, DACVB, on which this online version is based. Finally, and most importantly, we are deeply grateful to the hundreds of authors and reviewers who have contributed to the current and past editions of the MVM. Without their dedication to animal health and their efforts and willingness to share their expertise, the MVM would not be possible.
Susan E. Aiello, DVM, ELS
Michael A. Moses