SHEEP and their diseases have had but little attention from the veterinary profession, and consequently this work, just published by Mr. J. H. Steel, one of the most astute and successful veterinary practitioners and teachers of the present day, must be looked upon as the result of an important step in the right direction. Though we admit the author's ability and the probable usefulness of the book, yet the most conspicuous feature connected with it is the evidence which it gives of how very little of a sound, practical, and useful nature is known by scientific men in relation to sheep. No claim is made to originality in the subject-matter produced, and indebtedness to the various authorities quoted is freely acknowledged. There is, however, a distinct want of discrimination between those who are the leading authorities on certain subjects and those who are not. One who could write the three names, Walley, Williams, and Gamgee, in the order presented, shows he has no regard for precedence in virtue of merit. Gamgee in his day was perhaps the greatest genius who had ever adorned the veterinary profession, and Williams is unquestionably the most successful living author of veterinary works of a high order. Errors of an extraordinary kind appear where the writer, who is not himself familiar with the subject, attempts to enlarge upon the statements of others from whom he quotes; for example, in writing of the tick, ked, or fag (Melophagusovinus), he says “the animal buries its head and proboscis in the skin, and once fixed hangs on for months. It is nimble and active, and sometimes as large as a horse-bean.” Any entomologist familiar with, sheep cannot fail to see that the author has mistaken the grass-tick (Ixodes) for the sheep-tick (Melophagus), which belongs to a different genus, and has confounded the habits of the two creatures in an extraordinary manner. Apart from errors of this kind the work is far from complete, but if due care were taken to correct mistakes and to consult as additional references such recent works of a superior kind as “The Animal Parasites of Sheep,” by Dr. Cooper Curtice, published at Washington by the United States Government during the present year, the second edition might be made a most serviceable, interesting, and valuable volume.
A Treatise on the Diseases of the Sheep; being a Manual of Ovine Pathology especially adapted for the use of Veterinary Practitioners and Students.
By John Henry Steel. (London and New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1890.)
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