Merck & Co., Inc., has a long history of providing medical information to both human and animal health care professionals, publishing The Merck Manual and The Merck Veterinary Manual, both best-selling books in their respective fields. Building on this tradition, Merck has extended its commitment of providing medical information to the general public, translating the complex language of medicine in The Merck Manuals into everyday language for everyone.
The Merck Manual for Pet Health has been written for anyone interested in the health and well-being of animals kept as pets. Pet health information abounds, especially with the explosive growth of the Internet, but not all is accurate or up-to-date. The Merck Manual for Pet Health is based on The Merck Veterinary Manual, a comprehensive reference first published in 1955 and currently in its 10th edition, trusted and relied on by veterinarians and other animal health professionals around the world.
No information source can or should take the place of your veterinarian's knowledge and skill in taking your pet's history, performing a physical examination, determining a diagnosis, and prescribing a treatment plan. But having a resource that explains veterinary disorders in clear, everyday language can help you recognize signs of illness in your pet, understand how illness is evaluated and treated, and when possible, how it can be prevented. The overall goal is to enhance communication with your veterinarian so you can work together to ensure the best possible health for your pet throughout its lifetime.
The Merck Manual for Pet Health is organized into nine major sections. The first seven focus on dogs, cats, horses, and birds, covering basic information on care and behavior for new owners and more detailed discussions of disorders and diseases useful to anyone caring for a sick pet or wanting to know more about its condition. Another section has chapters individually devoted to species less commonly kept as pets, but no less a part of the family, including rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, fish, ferrets, and reptiles. The last section focuses on special subjects related to pet ownership and animal health, with chapters on emergencies, poisoning, pain management, and diseases spread from animals to people, among others. The site also features a handy glossary that explains medical terms, and information on traveling with pets, to make a trip both easier and safer.
Thanks are due to those who worked on the previous print edition of the Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health, in particular Cynthia M. Kahn and Scott Line, DVM, PhD, DACVB, on which this online version is based. Finally, and most importantly, we are deeply grateful to the hundreds of animal health professionals who evaluated and reviewed the contents to ensure accuracy and usefulness of the information for the benefit of all pets and their owners.
Susan E. Aiello, DVM, ELS
Michael A. Moses
Last full review/revision June 2012