Our favorite veterinary textbooks

Please know that we own and/or have used all of the books mentioned here at some point during our careers. The only books you'll see here are those that we're familiar with and recommend!!


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TEXTBOOK OF VETERINARY INTERNAL MEDICINE, 8ED

If you want a textbook that contains information on almost every aspect of small animal practice, this is a must-have in your collection. However, keep in mind that no reference textbook will have it all, and you might still have to consult other textbooks if you want more information on a specific topic. This is exactly why there are textbooks dedicated to a much narrower category of diseases – cardiology or endocrinology, for example. This is not a negative, it simply is not possible to put all the knowledge out there in one single textbook.


All in all, Ettinger is a book with plenty of valuable information and you’ll reach for it again and again. The online version that comes with the books has a useful search function and is updated regularly with short summaries of relevant new papers in the literature.

Should you get it while you’re in vet school? Yes!
Should you have it in your clinic?
Absolutely

KIRK’S CURRENT VETERINARY THERAPY XV

If you’d like a quick but high-quality summary on a disease, this is for you. Chapters are usually 3-5 pages long and easy to read.  Some of the chapters are online only which is always a bonus.


On the down side, If you’re really interested in a topic, you’ll have to continue reading beyond this book to get more detailed information. You can do that via primary literature (peer-reviewed papers) or Ettinger's textbook of internal medicice. 



Should you get it while you’re in vet school? It depends if you already have Ettinger or Cote (the next one on our list). You don’t need them all!


Should you have it in your clinic?
Yes, if you want a quick overview of a topic in between appointments

CLINICAL VETERINARY ADVISOR: DOGS AND CATS, 3E

It is very easy to find information in this book. The chapters are short and subdivided into basic information, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis and pearls, and considerations. The basics are all there, but again, if you want more, you’ll need an additional book. I personally don’t like books in this format, but I know many students and practitioners that do! It also contains client education sheets and a drug formulary which are always useful.

Should you get it while in vet school? Depends if you already have Ettinger or Kirk’s; you definitely don’t need all three
Should you have it in your clinic? Yes, if you want to read a quick chapter or quickly find information.

AUGUST’S CONSULTATIONS IN FELINE INTERNAL MEDICINE, VOLUME 7

This is my go-to feline medicine book. Great chapters and easy to read. This new edition has many brand new chapters and a new section on emergency and critical care medicine.


A must have for feline heavy practices! And honestly, even if you don't see that many feline patients, you still need it!

Should you get it while in vet school? Not if you have Ettinger and/or one of the other books mentioned above. You won't have the time to read it


Should you have it in your clinic? Absolutely!

CANINE AND FELINE GASTROENTEROLOGY, 1E

Who doesn’t like GI disease? I love it! Some chapters are long, there’s plenty of immunology and physiology, plus pharmacology and nutritional approaches.


It also offers problem based algorithms and many high quality figures. must-have if you love and want more information on GI disease!

Should you get it while in vet school? No.
Should you have it in your clinic? Yes, if you see a lot of GI cases and really enjoy GI disease.

CANINE AND FELINE ENDOCRINOLOGY, 4E

The bible of endocrine disease – the favorite book of one of my mentors and my go-to book for these diseases! It truly contains everything you need to know about endocrine disease if you’re planning on pursuing an internal medicine residency or simply love endocrine cases! The chapters offer great detail and a fair number of algorithms for quick reference.

Should you get it while in vet school? No, more general textbooks will be more helpful.
Should you have it in your clinic? Yes, if you see a lot of endocrine cases

INFECTIOUS DISEASES OF THE DOG AND CAT, 4E

This is the essential book on infectious diseases, and it has everything you want to know (and you wish you didn’t have to) about this subject! Expect very detailed chapters, which make it harder to read than the next book on our list (Sykes). It also offers a very useful antibiotic formulary. Keep in mind it was released back in 2011, but it is still a great resource.


Should you get it while in vet school? No, too much information.


Should you have it in your clinic? Yes!

CANINE AND FELINE INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 1E

This book is not as detailed as Greene’s, but is (in our opinion), much easier to read, as the chapters are shorter but still contain all the essential information. Choosing between Greene versus Sykes often boils down to personal preference, and different internists will have different opinions. I prefer this one simply because infectious diseases are not one of my favorite topics and I like the shorter chapters! Check them both out and then decide for yourself.

Should you get it while in vet school? Depends on what other books you already have; Likely not
Should you have it in your clinic? You should have one infectious disease book, either Greene or this one.

WITHROW AND MACEWEN’S SMALL ANIMAL CLINICAL ONCOLOGY, 5E

This is the best textbook for medical oncology. The chapters are easy to read and well-organized. However, please be aware that this edition is quite old (look forward to a new one out next year), and that there have been many new developments in chemotherapeutics and treatment recommendations since it was published. However, the oncology basics are all here and it’s a good place to start.

Should you get it while in vet school? Probably not unless you’re really interested in oncology.
Should you have it in your clinic? Absolutely!

FLUID, ELECTROLYTE, AND ACID-BASE DISORDERS IN SMALL ANIMAL PRACTICE, 4E

Another amazing book (are you seeing a trend here?). This is a fantastic resource for fluid therapy and acid-base disorders.

 

This also means very long chapters, lots of physiology, and a not-so-easy read. However, it offers many algorithms and tables that can be consulted quickly and are extremely helpful!

Should you get it while in vet school? No.


Should you have it in your clinic? Yes!

SMALL ANIMAL PEDIATRICS: THE FIRST 12 MONTHS OF LIFE, 1E

If you see a lot of the really young patients or simply have an interest in pediatrics look no further - great content and fantastic tables with lab value reference ranges for puppies and kittens! 


Another must have for any small animal practice! Keep in mind it was released back in 2010, but it is still the best reference out there in our opinion.

Should you get it while in vet school? No.
Should you have it in your clinic? Yes!

SMALL ANIMAL ENDOSCOPY, 3E

Are you interested in endoscopy or are you an internal medicine resident?

If so, you definitely need this book. It’s very easy to read, has great figures, and has everything you ever wanted to know about endoscopy! 


It offers chapters on laparoscopy, thoracoscopy and arthroscopy as well along with a companion website that offers videos of multiple procedures!

Should you get it while in vet school? No.
Should you have it in your clinic? Only if you're in a specialty practice or you do endoscopy

SMALL ANIMAL LAPAROSCOPY AND THORACOSCOPY

As above, if you’re interested in laparoscopy, this is something to consider! Even though I only perform laparoscopic liver biopsies, as an internist, it’s still a good read!

If you’re looking to become a surgeon, this is a great resource and also offers videos of certain procedures to aid in concept retention.

Should you get it while in vet school? Definitely not!
Should you have it in your clinic? Only if you have the training to do these procedures or are looking into pursuing training.

VETERINARY IMAGE-GUIDED INTERVENTIONS

A great book on interventional radiology and endoscopy. Describes the procedures in detail and on a step by step fashion, although performing them obviously requires a lot more hands-on experience than a book can provide.


This book is aimed at multiple specialists since interventional radiology services are often composed of different specialists working together.

Should you get it while in vet school? Definitely not!
Should you have it in your clinic? Yes, if you’re planing on pursuing advanced training in the field or work at specialty practice that performs them.

SMALL ANIMAL CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE, 2E

If you’re into critical care, this is a must-have. And even if you’re not, you should have it!


It contains great, short (3-4 pages), and to-the-point chapters. However, if you want more of a bullet point ER book, this is not the best choice. Check out the next book instead! Even though we’re not criticalists, we love this book!

Should you get it while in vet school? Probably would be very useful for your ICU / ER rotations.
Should you have it in your clinic? Huge yes!

EMERGENCY PROCEDURES FOR THE SMALL ANIMAL VETERINARIAN, 3E

Great bullet-point style book for busy emergency veterinarians and interns. This is a really helpful resource when you’re in a time crunch and need essential information!


We prefer the previous book as we are not into bullet style books, but if you prefer those, this is a must have. 



Should you get it while in vet school? Yes, it’s a quick reference to learn common ER procedures and will come in handy.
Should you have it in your clinic? Yes!

PRACTICAL GUIDE TO CANINE AND FELINE NEUROLOGY, 3E

Have you noticed that there are usually two fantastic books on a subject and that it’s difficult to decide which one to buy? This is another example – also check DeLahunta's book and pick the one you like the most. Either way you’ll end up with a great neurology book! Dewey’s new edition offer great new images and figures when compared with the previous edition!  A companion website is also available.

Should you get it while in vet school? No.
Should you have it in your clinic? Every small animal clinic should have a neurology textbook for reference, so yes.

VETERINARY NEUROANATOMY AND CLINICAL NEUROLOGY, 4E



See Dewey's book description - both of these are amazing resources! 


Like Dewey's, this book also offers a companion website with hundreds of videos!



Should you get it while in vet school? No.


Should you have it in your clinic? Yes – take your pick on Dewey versus de Lahunta

MANUAL OF CANINE AND FELINE CARDIOLOGY, 5E

This book is very easy to read and presents itself as a great introduction to cardiology.


There are many options out there so make sure to check them out to see if there’s one you prefer over this one!

Should you get it while in vet school? Probably not.
Should you have it in your clinic? A cardiology textbook should exist in every small animal practice, just like for neurology.

PLUMB’S VETERINARY DRUG HANDBOOK

This is our go-to book for drug dosages, interactions, and toxicities.


Although it’s great to have the physical book, many practices now have the online version, which makes searching very quick and easy! This is the 2018 edition!

Should you get it while in vet school? Yes.
Should you have it in your clinic? Yes! Either Plumb’s or something similar is a must!

FUNDAMENTALS OF VETERINARY CLINICAL PATHOLOGY, 2E

This is a great book and has everything you ever wanted to know about clinical pathology. It goes into more detail than the next one, which is always a plus for interns/residents.

Should you get it while in vet school? Yes! Clin path books are very useful to learn the basics and for SOAPs and discharges


Should you have it in your clinic? Yes!

SMALL ANIMAL CLINICAL DIAGNOSIS BY LABORATORY METHODS, 5E

We think this book is easier to read than the previous one, but just as good. Check them both out and see which one you prefer before buying. It’s unlikely that you’ll need both unless you’re a clinical pathology resident or really into it.

Should you get it while in vet school? See above – one book is enough, no need for two.
Should you have it in your clinic? Definitely yes, but take your pick between these two!

TEXTBOOK OF VETERINARY DIAGNOSTIC RADIOLOGY

These are our favorite radiology books. Great images and easy to understand. Do you prefer an atlas? Check this one out!

Should you get it while in vet school? Yes, the more radiographs you look at the better!
Should you have it in your clinic? Yes.

COWELL AND TYLER’S DIAGNOSTIC CYTOLOGY AND HEMATOLOGY OF THE DOG AND CAT, 4E

This is our favorite cytology book. Top notch cytology pictures and easy chapters to read.


Any small animal hospital must have a cytology book!


Should you get it while in vet school? No.
Should you have it in your clinic? Absolutely, having one cytology book is imperative!

SMALL ANIMAL DIAGNOSTIC ULTRASOUND, 3E

These two ultrasound books are very similar and both are great. Yet again, it boils down to personal preference. As expected, Pennink's atlas has more pictures, while this one has more text. If you’re into ultrasound, having both is the way to go.

Should you get it while in vet school? No, it won’t be useful unless you’re really interested in ultrasound.
Should you have it in your clinic? Yes, if you perform ultrasounds!

ATLAS OF SMALL ANIMAL ULTRASONOGRAPHY, 2E

​See the previous description!

Should you get it while in vet school? Same as above. However, if you are to get one, an atlas might be more helpful as it has more images.


Should you have it in your clinic? You probably should have both books mentioned if you’re performing ultrasounds regularly. In addition, both offer companion websites with ultrasound videos. We think they complement each other quite well.

MILLER AND KIRK’S SMALL ANIMAL DERMATOLOGY, 7E

A great dermatology book. Every small animal hospital must have a dermatology book, regardless of which one it is. The new edition is a great improvement over the last one – it retained and improved all the great information, and added many high quality color images.

Should you get it while in vet school? No.
Should you have it in your clinic? In general practice you’ll have a large dermatology caseload. You need a dermatology book. Period.

SMALL ANIMAL DERMATOLOGY: A COLOR ATLAS AND THERAPEUTIC GUIDE, 4E

If you prefer a dermatology atlas, this one might be a better option, as it has more images.


However, it can’t compete with the previous one in terms of written information. Check them both out and decide which one you like the most!

Should you get it while in vet school? No.


Should you have it in your clinic? Yes! Decide between the atlas or the previous one!

SMALL ANIMAL MEDICAL DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS, 3E

This book is very useful for when you're a vet student! ​It's smaller than the next one (ie. the actual book is smaller) and fits nicely in your lab coat pocket. 

Should you get it while in vet school? Yes! Students always struggle with differential diagnosis and these types of books are always helpful.
Should you have it in your clinic? Can't hurt - our memories have all needed a little jog once or twice

DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS IN SMALL ANIMAL MEDICINE, 2E

Very similar to the previous book – both give you differential diagnoses in a bullet point style. 


Check them both out at the library and decide which one you prefer!

Should you get it while in vet school? Same as above.


Should you have it in your clinic? Can’t hurt, but one is likely more than enough

GUYTON AND HALL TEXTBOOK OF MEDICAL PHYSIOLOGY, 13E

Are you interested in doing an ACVIM-related residency (Cardiology, Neurology, Oncology, Small Animal Internal Medicine or Large Animal Internal Medicine)? Or are you currently a first year resident in any specialty?


You’ll probably need Guyton to study for your board exams. And even if you don’t, you definitely should have an in-depth understanding of physiology. Some chapters will not apply since it’s a human physiology book, so keep that in mind.

Should you get it while in vet school? No.
Should you have it in your clinic? No, unless there are residents and/or you’re really into physiology.

WEST’S RESPIRATORY PHYSIOLOGY: THE ESSENTIALS



As the title implies – respiratory physiology for ACVIM residents taking the General Exam and Internal Medicine residents  Short book and a quick read but a ton of information!



Should you get it while in vet school? No!


Should you have it in your clinic? No, unless there are ACVIM residents and/or you’re really into respiratory physiology.

VETERINARY SURGERY: SMALL ANIMAL, 1E

This book is highly detailed. If you ask surgery residents and board certified surgeons, they will probably be divided in terms of which book they prefer – this one or Fossum's. 


We encourage you to evaluate both of them before you buy and get advice from the surgery department at your school on what their preference is! We prefer this one simply because we feel it is more detailed!

Should you get it while in vet school? ​Yes! Pick this one or Fossum's!
Should you have it in your clinic? Yes if you perform any type of surgery!

SMALL ANIMAL SURGERY, 5E

Fossum’s is a little easier to read than the previous book but it does cover less detail.


Both books have great figures and images and it is a matter of personal preference on which one to choose. From our experience, students usually prefer this one - you should check both out and decide which one you like the best! Personally we prefer the previous one



Should you get it while in vet school? Yes, one of these two!


Should you have it in your clinic? Yes if you perform any type of surgery!

MILLER’S ANATOMY OF THE DOG, 4E

Probably the best anatomy book out there. You’ll probably need an anatomy book in school, but depending on your class you may just need a dissection guide. Check in with your professors!

Should you get it while in vet school? Maybe, depending on your anatomy notes.
Should you have it in your clinic? Yes, if you perform surgery.

GUIDE TO THE DISSECTION OF THE DOG

There is no way around this book for any vet student. You need it for Anatomy class. Period. Amazing figures and easy to read text!

Should you get it while in vet school? Yes!


Should you have it in your clinic? Yes, if you perform surgery.

Let us and the community know if you have a textbook that you have used extensively and would like to share!