In this valuable and accessible reference guide, Ellsworth (The Psychoanalysis of Everyday Life, 2012), with her veterinarian co-writer, Wafer, details a number of ailments dogs and cats can face, from the common to the rare, via stories of the pets she cares for. “Technically, I’m a pet sitter,” Ellsworth says. “But since some of these pets spend more time with me than their owners, I prefer to think of myself as a pet au pair.” The stories illustrate illnesses like thyroid problems and heartworms as well as conditions like obesity and behavioral problems. Some end sadly—Fowler, the best bird dog in Solano County, California, had aged well past his prime before being euthanized—while other issues were little more than brief disturbances in a dog’s or cat’s routine. Ellsworth tackled all problems with a level head, even though they included things like anal gland expression and tumors. The book’s lighthearted tone is clearly full of love for all creatures, yet it’s also elevated enough to include medical terminology: “Dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale) alone contains copper, iron, selenium, magnesium and zinc,” readers are told, “as well as vitamins A, B1, B2, B5, B6, B12, C, D and E.” The work would make an ideal reference for pet owners who need basic information about pet health problems as well as advice on when it’s time to take a cat or dog to the vet. Offering readers numerous avenues to attack a particular health problem, the authors provide information on homeopathic treatments as well as modern veterinary medicine along with the necessary cautions that come with taking such an approach. Through dialogues with Ellsworth’s own veterinarian, Dr. McKenna, and his assistant, the authors make complex terminology and difficult decisions seem simpler and easier to manage. Also included is a comprehensive list of the subtypes of many conditions—such as possible dermatological issues and mental problems—as well as other useful sections covering common substances poisonous to pets and a discussion of vaccines.
A handy, approachable reference for cat and dog health.