Top 10 Exotic Animal Medicine Textbooks

Kristen Turner
Aug 19, 2023

One of the most difficult things about being an exotic animal vet is knowing where to find the most up to date and applicable information. There is no way each of us can hold the entirety of knowledge pertaining to anatomy, physiology, therapeutics, diagnostics, and so on for dozens, if not hundreds of species, which is where knowing how to use your resources comes in. 

There are so many helpful resources out there, and textbooks are just one of them, but arguably the most important for a solid basis of exotics knowledge. This list just scratches the surface, but includes the texts I have found to be overall most useful for a variety of species. Keep in mind, with exotic animals, new research is published weekly and so even the best textbooks can become outdated quickly. It’s never a bad idea to do a quick PubMed® or Google Scholar™ search to make sure there is no newer data out (or use my consultation services and I’ll keep you up to date on the latest literature!). 

**Click the links to purchase any of these books (This page contains affiliate links, meaning if you click on them I will receive a small commission at no cost to you)

10. Diagnostic Imaging of Exotic Pets

This atlas offers large radiograph, ultrasound, CT and MRI reference images and the most common visible changes seen with pathologic processes of reptiles, small mammals and avian species. 

9. Exotic Animal Laboratory Diagnosis

Covers obtaining samples, selecting tests, and interpreting results for small mammals, a variety of avian species, primates, reptiles and aquatic animals

8. Exotic Animal Hematology and Cytology

This book contains excellent images of the unique features of different hematology and cytology findings of exotic animal species as well as multiple case studies exploring common clinical problems. 

7. Exotic Animal Emergency and Critical Care Medicine

This resource deals with management of the most common ER presentations of birds, reptiles/amphibians and exotic companion mammals, exploring triage/stabilization, diagnostics, treatment, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and euthanasia. 

6. Surgery of Exotic Animals

The first surgery textbook specifically written for exotic species for practitioners with a basic working knowledge of surgical principles in domestic small animals. This book includes written descriptions of a variety of procedures and is supplemented with color images of regional anatomy and the procedures themselves. 

5. Current Therapy in Exotic Pet Practice

Comprehensive overall reference to diagnosing and treating disease in exotic pets broken down by body system.

4. Mader’s Reptile and Amphibian Medicine and Surgery

The most comprehensive resource on reptile and amphibian medicine. I will be the first to say I loathed the 2nd edition of this text: the layout was awful, it went into significant depth on some rare disease processes and then skipped over more common ones entirely, and the index was a pain. The addition of Drs. Divers and Stahl as editors improved on these problems immensely, and I find this a much less frustrating version. 

3. Current Therapy in Avian Medicine and Surgery 

Succinct summary of how to approach, diagnose and treat most avian medical and surgical issues, covering a variety of species.

2. Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents: Clinical Medicine and Surgery

AKA the ‘pink book’ AKA ‘the bible of small mammal medicine’. IYKYK. If you are going to dip even a pinkie toe into the world of exotic companion mammal medicine, this is the book you need. Even with 10 years treating these species, I still reach for it regularly and it is probably my second most-used textbook. 

1. Carpenter’s Exotic Animal Formulary

This is the book I reach for on a daily basis! It has medication dosages for most exotic animal species that you will see in practice, as well as common protocols, husbandry information and reference values. It is invaluable and a must-have if you are going to see any exotics. 

Honorable Mention:

Backyard Poultry Medicine and Surgery: A Guide for Veterinary Practitioners

While poultry is touched on in some of the above resources, this text is much more comprehensive, so I recommend it if you are seeing more than the occasional chicken or duck. 

Later on, I’ll get more in depth and break down my top 5-10 books for each species group. Do you agree or did I leave out your favorite textbook? Let me know in the comments below and subscribe to my email list for the latest updates and access to FREE resources. 

1 comment

Trellis Gaarder
Aug 29, 2023

This is a great resource!