How to Examine a Wolverine, by Philipp Schott

The amiable veterinarian Dr. Philipp Schott is back with a second collection of blog posts, short essays, anecdotes, and thoughts from his decades practicing medicine for the furry denizens of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. This volume, How to Examine a Wolverine, might be the coziest thing I’ve ever read. And, fittingly enough, I read it mostly on a Sunday afternoon with one or the other cat napping in my lap.

The chapters jump back and forth in time from Dr. Schott’s days in veterinary school almost up through the present. Unlike the previous book, this collection is a little light on the animal stories. Rather, Dr. Schott spends a lot more time answering frequently asked questions about cats and dogs (Why do cats like catnip? Is catnip addictive? Why are dog farts so pungent? Is being a vet now at all like it was in Dr. James Harriot’s day? How do you examine that wolverine from the zoo?) He also ruminates (‘scuz the pun) on what draws people into veterinary medicine, why vet care is so expensive, how to deal with difficult customers, why the profession flipped from mostly male to mostly female in the last 50 years…and so much more. This sounds like an awful lot of topics for such an easy read. Dr. Schott mostly manages this by keeping the chapters short.

The best chapters in this book are the animal stories. (My personal favorite involves a cat named Blizzard that is as destructive as its namesake.) In fact, this book makes me wish that I could spend a Sunday afternoon with the doc himself, a mug of tea, and lots of time for me to winkle every cat and dog story out of him that I can.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration.

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