One of the many, many things that vets in my generation have in common is the Saunders Veterinary Anatomy Colouring book… Which is most likely at the bottom of a drawer somewhere, scapula vaguely coloured in and then forgotten. It’s one of the classic “congratulations you’re in University now!” veterinary books which is given by well-meaning parents, family, and friends. Along with a “oh the places you’ll go!” book and stethoscope, it packs out the dorm room quite nicely. You even think to yourself that it’s a smart way to study without actually studying. With the excitement of actually being in vet school, it gets forgotten somewhere. Then one day you’re in practice, trying to figure out where exactly that one nerve runs, and you wish that you hadn’t left that book in the back of that drawer. Sorry mum.

As a new graduate, if I’m not asking my colleagues, I’m searching it up in a book. There are a few that have been a major help in my first few months, so I’m passing on the suggestions here. If you have any vet-related books that you’re a big fan of then pop a comment down below to share the knowledge.

BSAVA Manuals

The “Classics”

BSAVA Manuals are classics. Every placement or job interview I’ve been on has a pile of BSAVA manuals. They’re not exactly cheap, but that’s why so many vets get their practice to buy them. Or try to convince them at least. I’ve recently bought three: one for interest, one for daily use, and one for the future. At £60+VAT, it’s a slightly expensive birthday or Christmas list item. They’re great starter books, often covering basic diagnostics and treatments briefly. If you’re searching for an answer for that mysterious and incredibly rare exotic case, this might not be the place to go.

In addition to these books, the BSAVA Small Animal Formulary and the BSAVA Procedure Book are absolutely brilliant. There’s a BSAVA app for your smartphone as well, for even quicker look-up and access. Of course, in a consult room the book looks a bit better to have open. Drug doses including the off-license drugs are all included, and the procedure books is a quick-reference to help out with everything from intravenous catheters to punch biopsies.


Would you trust what your friends say?

Trusted sources are a great place to branch from and find information. For example, if you know a particular veterinary specialist who you trust and you recognise has good case outcomes, you can have a look and see if they’ve written any papers or co-authored any books.

On The Webinar Vet, we’ve got plenty of authors and co-authors who share their knowledge in webinar form. For those of us who prefer the written word, there’s also our ‘resource hub’ which has plenty of free veterinary books to download, about everything from clinical information to environmental awareness.

Veterinary Journals

Up-to-date, trusted information. Delivered to your door.

Although technically not veterinary books, journals are a great source to get information from. Admittedly, many of us have a pile in the corner of the office which we haven’t read yet. A delivery of some of the most up-to-date, peer reviewed information relevant to everyday practice? It sounds pretty ideal, if you ask me. Now just to find the time to read them.

Journals are great because the content varies between each page, often with an over-arching theme. There are journals for companion animal medicine, farm medicine, specialities from ophthalmology to feline medicine and more. I’m subscribed to VetRecord and InPractice, there are probably others that show up every now and again but I haven’t quite mastered the art of reading them as soon as they pop through my mailbox!

New Graduate Veterinary Books

The magic book we all wish we had.

In the panic of the last few months before clinical rotations, I have never seen so many people desperately trying to find the magic veterinary book which will tell you everything your supervising vet is asking you. The extra-cranial causes of seizures? Let me just flip to page 539. Oh, you need all the reasons why ALT could be increased? Sure, it’s probably on page 30. Ah, if only it was that easy.

The two veterinary books that I found the most useful were the MiniVet Guide for the knowledge side of the job, and the New Vets Handbook for the life-smarts side of the job. There’s never going to be a book that covers everything, there’s reason there are literally thousands of books available. These are books that are a great starting point, so it’s just about using these to see where to search next.


There will always be veterinary books to read, and there will always be not quite enough time to read them. I suppose finding the books that you’re enthralled by (as much as one can be), and are written in a way that keeps you reading is the trick to it. I’ll let you all know how my BSAVA manuals come along. If my previous hours on EMS of reading the old tattered copies are anything to go by, it should be a nice pairing with a cup of tea. Now just to find a use for that anatomy colouring book.