The Merck Manual for Pet Health is organized into sections and chapters. Understanding this organization will help the reader find desired information. Topics of interest can be quickly located by reviewing the Table of Contents or Index.
In the first portion of the book sections cover either basic information or the disorders of one species. Dogs, cats, and horses are treated in this way. The disorders within these sections are grouped by body system.
Following that is a section on birds and then one that includes fish, reptiles, amphibians, and a variety of other small or exotic animals. In this section, there is one chapter covering both basic information and disorders for each animal.
The final section covers a variety of special topics, such as travel with pets, emergencies, drugs and vaccines, poisoning, and the human-animal bond. Each section has its own detailed table of contents to assist in easily locating information.
Some chapters describe a single body system. Other chapters cover the diseases of an entire species. In either case, the discussion of a disorder usually begins with a definition of the disorder. The information that follows typically includes causes, signs, methods your veterinarian will use to diagnose the condition, treatment, and preventive techniques.
In the sections on dogs, cats, horses, and birds, early chapters describe the normal anatomy and physiology of the animals. These are followed by chapters on selecting and providing a home for the animal, routine care and feeding, and behavior.
Cross-references are found hroughout the book as links to other important discussions that are related to the original topic. Some cross-references include the subject title of the related information, while others point the reader to an illustration, sidebar, or table.
In many cases the technical terms that are used by veterinarians to describe medical conditions and disorders are explained or defined in the text. In addition, such terms are also defined in the glossary. The definitions provided in the glossary are not necessarily complete; however, they represent the most frequent usage of the term.
Illustrations, Sidebars, and Tables
Many illustrations, sidebars, and tables help explain or highlight material in the text or give additional, related information.
Last full review/revision June 2012