John August is a British veterinarian who received his pre-veterinary education at Eastbourne College in Sussex, England 1973, and then graduated with honours from the Royal Veterinary College at the University of London, became a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Following his European education he then moved to the USA where he became established as a university professor, first at Auburn University (where he received his Master of Science degree in 1977 and became a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 1979, then at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (where he became Associate Professor and Co-ordinator of Medical Services in 1982). Following this at Texas A&M University he was appointed Professor of Companion Animal Medicine in 1986 while serving as Head of the Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery from 1986 until 1997. In 1997, he was one of six administrators of Texas A&M University to be selected for a year-long internships in the Centre for Leadership in Higher Education, and in 2001 he was nominated by the President of the Texas A&M University as on Campus Co-Chair of the Advisory Council for the âVision 2020â , a Project aimed at establishing Texas A&M University as one of the top 10 Universities in the USA by the year 2020. His professional interests include feline medicine and distance education. Presently, he is lead instructor on two federally-funded projects providing distance learning through two-way compressed video and the World-Wide Web. He is also heavily involved in teaching as well as serving the feline clientele by sharing responsibility for the feline internal medicine service in the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at Texas A&M.
John R. August is also the editor-in-chief of Consultations in Feline Internal Medicine, which has now become a series of 5 volumes. Volumes 1, 2, 3, and 4 were published respectively by the W.B. Saunders Company in January 1991, 1994, 1997, and 2001. Volume 5 is the last, and most likely the best of the whole series.
What makes this book very special is that, besides being informative, innovative and easy to consult when in a hurry, it is so very readable. If one has time, it is easy to start reading a chapter or a paragraph and get caught following it through as the reader is often confronted with very challenging statements and observations concerning important issues such as vaccination against caliciviruses (âMost caliciviruses vaccines have incomplete efficacyâ â Janet Foley, page 6); the role of cat food in the development of odontoclastic resorptive lesions (âMany commercially available cat foods contains excess concentrations of vitamin Dâ â Kenneth Lyon, page 69), or in the development of hypothyroidism (âMost dog and cat foods contain relatively high levels of goitrogenic compounds such as phtalates. Cast fed a soy-containing diet had higher TT4 and FT4 concentrations than cats fed a soy-free dietâ â Duncan Ferguson and Richard Freedman, page 212); the relationship between cobalamin and chronic gastrointestinal disease (âThe half life of cobalamin in healthy cats is approximately 13 days, whereas in 2 cats with inflammatory bowel disease the half life was reduced to approximately 5 daysâ â Craig Ruaux, page 122); the absence of 100% association between high free T4 concentration and hyperthyroidism (âUp to 12% of cats with nonthyroidal illness that do not have hyperthyroidism have high free T4 concentrations for reasons that are unclearâ - Mark Peterson, pag 194); the lack of efficacy of transdermal applications (Most published reports on transdermal application of drugs to cats showed that absorption was incomplete, nonexistent or highly inconsistent among cats âMark Papich, page 280).
Furthermore, this book has an enormous amount of attractive colour, high quality photographs, figures and schemes illustrating the pathogenesis of diseases, as well as an abundance of tables and charts illustrating reference ranges, clinical signs, differential diagnoses, diagnostic algorithms, or comparison of advantages and disadvantages of various treatments. This is definitely a remarkable difference from other textbooks the majority of which feature mostly black and white and a few colour pictures. I counted all the colour pictures of cats, ultrasounds, X-rays, CAT scans and found out that they total the incredible number of 510! And this is without taking into account tables, charts, diagrams and referenced work. Some chapters feature an enormous amounts of beautiful colour pictures such as âControversial and emerging diseasesâ (John Rest, pages 267-278, 34 colour pictures with an incredible one of a 43.5 cm long linear granuloma), âPerforming the neurological examinationâ (John Coates and Jonathan Levine, pages 449-462, with 36 colour pictures), or some of the chapters of the section cardiology and respiratory disorders, with lots and lots of original, excellent quality pictures some of which are really outstanding (such as a 28-cm female heartworm within the pulmonary vasculature of an 18-year old castrated male cancer patient, initially spotted on ultrasound and then photographed on autopsy, Clark Atkins and Annette Litster, page 327). The chapter on recognition and management of stress in housed cats (Brenda Griffin and Kelly Hume, pages 717-734) features 32 beautiful colour pictures with the last one, the cat watching a Cat-programme on TV, which is definitely a must!
The layout and relative importance of some chapters of the book reflect the North American situation with respect to, for instance, spaying and neutering attitudes. Few cats make it intact to the adult age in the US and UK, and therefore the reproduction section of this book is fairly short and, although very interesting to practitioner (see the paragraph about the practical use of a commercially available LH assay kit to distinguish between sexually intact and gonadectomized queens - Brenda Griffin, page 221) of a breadth and depth which is on a different scale than the rest of the book.
Some chapters are truly innovative, like the entire section on Population Medicine (pages 675-753) with contributions on Feline euthanasia in animal shelters, Cruelty towards cats and Recognition and management of stress at home which cannot be found anywhere else on printed paper. Likewise the chapters on Treatment-related or Tumour-related emergencies in feline oncology, or Medical record-keeping for the feline patient (Section on Oncology, pages 613-670).
This is âThe Bookâ for feline practitioners, certainly the most interesting, innovative, clear and concise textbook on the market, the best of the 5 edited so far by Dr. August, and one which currently has no rivals in the bookstore.
Reviewed by Professor Stefano Romagnoli(I), for EJCAP