I was pleased to receive a copy of Zoo Vet in the mail from Paperback Swap today. It brought the number up to 477 in my library! And I was able to refresh my memory, so now I can tell you more about it. What I mostly liked reading about was the wide variety of wildlife Taylor treated, and the ingenious ways he did so. Many of the animals were dangerous and difficult to handle. Medical practices were not well developed for them yet, so Taylor had to improvise a lot with what was on hand. He performed the first cesarean section on a zebra mare- while suffering a severe allergic reaction to the animal itself!
Other patients included an orca with ulcers, a sick hippo, an overly affectionate gorilla, some orphaned mountain lions, ill dolphins, a rattlesnake that refused to eat, an elephant with an abscessed tooth, a tiger with an injured spine and a giraffe with a damaged hoof. Most interesting were his visits to foreign countries to treat valuable wildlife owned by other zoos and the wealthy. During one visit to China, he was invited to observe an operation performed on a horse. The horse was not put to sleep or given any pain medication- it was treated with acupuncture alone, and lay quietly throughout the surgery. I was a bit incredulous. Taylor himself writes that he could hardly believe it- but he saw it with his own eyes. Fascinating book, highly recommended.