The Merck Manuals have a long tradition of providing comprehensive, up-to-date, and accurate information on the health problems affecting people and other animals. Since publication of the first Merck Veterinary Manual (MVM) in 1955, veterinarians have had a reference of their own dedicated to providing the essential information that they need to practice on the wide range of species that they care for. Through the years, a distinguished group of editors, editorial board members, contributors, and reviewers have worked hard to keep the MVM current and address the growing range of new diseases, disorders, management issues, and other concerns faced by animal health professionals.
It’s a unique reference, one that has been in the pocket, desk, or mobile clinic vehicle of a host of students and practitioners. I recall many hours spent with the 5th edition as I made rounds in the veterinary teaching hospital at Ohio State and in my apartment as I prepared for board exams. It was a rare student in our class who didn’t consult one. We hope to keep it useful and continually improve. In keeping with that goal, this website has been reformatted to work on all types of devices, from laptops and desktop computers to tablets and phones.
The MVM has grown substantially over the years as new diseases emerge and as new fields are discovered. In addition to adding content, we’ve also expanded its availability in the past 15 years by adding an online version, creating a mobile app, and engaging our audience on social media. There are a number of advantages to the electronic versions of the MVM: it enhances the tradition of portability, it allows for more timely updates and reviews of the content, there is room for a much larger number of figures and images, and we’re able to add multimedia content such as audio and video files. Many of these have been generously shared by contributors, and we’ll continue to add more on a regular basis.
As we launch the new version of the MVM with the 11th edition content, we’ve included additional interactive features. You will now find regular news items that involve the veterinary profession, along with occasional commentaries. We have also added new sections for case studies and quizzes based on MVM content to allow users to test themselves on a range of material. There are also clinical calculators that enable users to enter patient data and determine specific dosages and related treatment requirements. Veterinary students will be adding their perspectives on veterinary topics through regular blog posts. For pet owners, we have included material that addresses pet health topics in everyday language that will be easier to understand than the technical language of the sections intended for professionals.
As we move forward, the MVM online will be updated on a continual basis. Instead of waiting several years for new information to be published, it will appear as soon as it is ready. We also have plans to release a new app for mobile devices and provide regular updates for that version as well. And in keeping with Merck’s goal of making medical knowledge widely available, the website will continue to be free of charge and free of advertising.
We welcome your feedback on the new developments. Please let us know what you like and what needs additional attention and feel free to tell us what else you would like to see added.