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Tales of an African Vet

by Roy Aronson

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554469,927 (3.92)1
Presents the experiences of a veterinarian who has practiced in South Africa for a period of twenty-five years, describing his treatments of such wild animals as a lion, bull elephant, king cobra, rhinoceros, and crocodile, and the dangers he has encountered in his practice.

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Adult Reader Reaction: Fascinating. Dr. Aronson's descriptions were so vivid that I often felt I was standing beside or behind him. It isn't every day that we learn how to treat lion and tigers, cobra, and crocodiles (among others). I tried to read the book cover to cover, but this really is more of an anthology. Pick stories that sound interesting. As I got about halfway through the book, the stories struck a repetitive pattern and I lost interest in continuing.

Pros: Readers who love animals and see themselves in field work will thoroughly enjoy Dr. Aronson's biography.

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  TheReadingTub | Nov 6, 2015 |
Tales of an African Vet is a fascinating series of vignettes from the life of author Roy Aronson. The stories follow his real life experiences as a veterinarian in South Africa and his patients range from elephants and lions in the wild to snakes and squirrel monkeys brought into a clinic for treatment.

Dr. Aronson shows a depth of passion for his work and for all the animals he treats that reveals a sense of compassion as great as his intelligence. The book is amazing for it's details of science and medicine - and the logistics behind treating incredibly large and dangerous wild animals - as well as the knowledge and interesting facts about the variety of animals encountered (from rhinos to alligators to hedgehogs to koi).

The book was well written and the format of stories rather than a single narrative provides a sweeping coverage of the grand scale of Dr. Aronson's work. This is a great book for anyone interested in African animals, exotic veterinary medicine, or just a great biography of a man with an extraordinary job. ( )
1 vote elbakerone | Sep 20, 2011 |
In Tales of an African Vet the author shares various stories of memorable experiences he's had working with wild animals. Most aren't animals held in zoos, but ones roaming free out in the bush. So in order to treat the animals he often had to spend hours searching for them, successfully get them darted so they could be safely handled while asleep, and then monitor them until they woke up again (so they wouldn't get attacked by another predator). Quite an undertaking. Not all the stories are of creatures roaming wild and free. There are also various animals brought into his vet practice: a pet squirrel monkey, a snake injured by a dog, a hedgehog likewise suffering from a dog bite. He also tells of visiting a crocodile farm, and a fish farm with valued koi suffering from the bends! The stories are all good reads, engaging and very intriguing, especially when they get into issues of animal conservation. Some of them are sobering- it was dismaying to read about how close cheetahs are coming to extinction for example, and (inevitably) there are a few cases where the animals don't survive treatment. But a lot of them have good outcomes, and positive outlook for the future (he says that wild areas in South African are actually increasing as more and more people who own land privately turn it into game parks or reserves with habitat suitable for wild animals). It's easy to tell which animals are the author's favorites; he gives a lot more description about the elephants and crocodiles than the lions, for example. I enjoyed reading about them all.

from the Dogear Diary ( )
1 vote jeane | Apr 4, 2011 |
This is a very entertaining book. The author, who has a standard cats-and-dogs veterinary practice in Cape Town, also got to treat various exotic pets and injured wildlife brought in by concerned individuals, got called for help by national parks and private game reserves which organize wildlife-viewing safaris for tourists, and was invited by fellow veterinarians to see interesting cases all over the country, from the Kruger National Park to crocodile and fish farms, for a TV program about veterinary practice. I've read plenty of books about animals, but even so I've learned various new facts, such as the existence of a big, brightly-colored pet fish called "koi" which "can be tamed, hand fed, and will actually respond to individual signals," or that animals don't recognize humans on horseback as humans to such a degree that wild antelopes would allow riders to mingle with the herd. All the stories were interesting and although they're not connected it was hard to stop reading. I also liked it that the author didn't shy away from expressing his views on various topics, such as hunting or helping wild animals in parks and reserves. To my surprise, I've also read about some positive news for wildlife in this book. The author says that it's not uncommon today for cattle farmers throughout the country to turn their land into private game viewing operations. He also says that there are quite a few of them on the borders of the Kruger National Park today, and they're even taking down the fences between them to allow animals to wander freely, and even between Kruger and Zambian and Mozambiquean parks adjacent to it, which will allow the animals to resume their ancient migrating routes! I highly enjoyed this book. ( )
  Ella_Jill | Nov 27, 2010 |
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Presents the experiences of a veterinarian who has practiced in South Africa for a period of twenty-five years, describing his treatments of such wild animals as a lion, bull elephant, king cobra, rhinoceros, and crocodile, and the dangers he has encountered in his practice.

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