Medical Mathematics and Dosage Calculations for Veterinary Professionals, Second Edition
Robert Bill, DVM, MS, PhD

VSPN Review by Elizabeth Warren, RVT Star
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As an instructor of medical math for veterinary assistants and technicians, I have searched high and low, far and wide, for the perfect math textbook, and… it doesn’t exist. Even if I wrote my own math book, it would not be perfect. Even if it was perfect for my usages within the classroom, it certainly wouldn’t be perfect for EVERYONE. Why? Math teachers are different; math learners are different. We are all shaped by our previous educational experiences, learning styles, and current practices. So it is difficult to write a completely objective review of this, or any, book designed to be used for teaching and learning math skills. Therefore my best recommendation to both math teachers and math learners is to read and use several different books (and other resources). You may find “the one” that you really like, or you may find that there are aspects of several that “work for you” and other aspects that don’t.

With that said, Dr. Bill’s math textbook is one of a few that I use in my classes. Here’s why:

The first chapter is a self-assessment exercise. Learners are asked to work arithmetic problems with decimal numbers, fractions, and percentages, and problems that solve for “X” (basic algebra). The answers to the self-assessment questions are provided so that learners can decide if they are ready to jump straight into medical math calculations or if they need review of these concepts first.

Chapters two through five contain a review of basic concepts and each section within the chapters includes a set of practice problems, again with answers provided, as well as a summary set of problems at the end of each chapter. The remaining chapters cover calculations relevant to clinical practice: dosage calculations and measurements (metric and non-metric systems), drug labels and medication orders, intravenous infusions, and a few miscellaneous calculations such as dilutions and temperature conversions. As in the early chapters, there are sets of practice problems for each section of material as well as a summary set of problems at the end of each chapter. These are, for the most part, basic pharmacy math problems. As a medical math fundamentals text, I find this coverage to be more than adequate.

Not covered are more advanced problems such as constant rate drug infusions, or calculations performed in other areas of clinical practice such as clinical pathology, feeding/nutrition, and inhalational anesthesia. Learners will find these in other, subject-specific texts for veterinary staff. I also found a few minor problems with this book. First, there are no answer keys for the end-of-chapter problems. Although the logic of not providing the answers may be understandable as some learners may be tempted to peek at the answer BEFORE attempting to solve the problem on their own, I have found many people are frustrated by the inability to check their work as they go. Not providing answer keys also makes it difficult for independent learners to monitor their own progress.

There are some mistakes in the end-of-chapter problems for Chapter Eight, “Dose Calculations and Syringe Measurements.” One question is missing drug concentration information, and another question about doses for two patients actually uses three different patient names. I believe that these are editing issues as the questions have been revised from the first edition of this book, and in the process of revision, some information appears to have been missed. Personally, I wish that the more complicated, multi-part word problems were broken down a bit instead of written in paragraph form. Finally, the smaller “pocket” size of this book is generally a plus, but in some instances is not conducive to a clear layout and formatting for complex problems. It is challenging to read an equation or step in a solution that takes up more than one line of text, making chapter five, “Solving for the Unknown Value X” a little more confusing than it might already be for someone who hasn’t done algebra for “X” number of years!

None of these issues are deal-breakers for me as an instructor and lifelong learner and I consider this little book very useful and usually user-friendly. As an instructor, I will continue to use and recommend it to veterinary technician students as well as veterinarians, veterinary technicians, veterinary assistants, and others who want to learn or refresh their medical math skills.

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell (2009).

425 pg; soft cover.

ISBN-13: 978-0-8138-2363-8.

Editor’s note: See also the VIN Review of this book.


Table of Contents
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Alternative Medicine
Animal Welfare
Client Education
Cytology / Hematology / Histology
Emergency Med
Food Animals/Livestock
Handling & Restraint
Human-Animal Bond
Imaging & Radiology
Infectious Diseases
Internal Medicine
Laboratory Medicine
Practice Management
Rabbits, Rodents & Ferrets
Shelter Medicine
Veterinary Education
* Career Choice (VSPN Review)
* Kirk’s Current Veterinary Therapy XIV
* Rev. Q&A Tech. 3rd Ed. (VSPN Review)
* Textbook Of Veterinary Physiological Chemistry: 2nd ed
* Textbook Phys. Chemistry
* VSPN Notebook 3.0 (VSPN Review)
* Workbook McCurnin 7th Ed. (VSPN Review)
*Handbook Vet. Neurology 4th Ed.
An Illustrated Guide to Animal Science Terminology (VSPN)
Anatomy & Physiology of Domestic Animals, 2nd ed (VSPN)
Animal Biology and Care, 3rd Ed (VSPN)
Assessing Skills 2nd Ed. (VSPN Review)
Atlas of Normal Radiographic Anatomy & Anatomic Variants in the Dog and Cat
Atlas of Transboundary Animal Diseases (VSPN)
Brucellosis: Recent Developments towards “One Health” (VSPN)
Career Choices for Veterinary Technicians, Opportunities for Animal Lovers (VSPN)
Case Studies in Veterinary Technology (VSPN)
Cattle Medicine
Clin. Anat. Lab. Tech. (VSPN Review)
COMPAS Material Safety Data Systems
Connecting With Grieving Clients, 2nd ( VSPN )
Contracts, Benefits and Practice Management for the Veterinary Profession, 8th Ed (VSPN)
Creating a Pet-Friendly Hospital, Animal Shelter, or Petcare Business (VSPN)
Critical Care Management for Laboratory Mice and Rats(VSPN)
CVPM Preparation Workbook
Dellmann's Histology 6th Ed.
Differential Diagnosis in Small Animal Medicine, 2nd ed (VSPN)
Domestic Animal Behavior for Veterinarians & Animal Scientists, 5th Ed (VSPN)
Electrocardiography for the Small Animal Practitioner (VSPN Review)
Equine Internal Medicine, 3rd Ed
Essentials Language (VSPN Review)
Fluid, Electrolyte, And Acid-Base Disorders In Small Animal Practice 4th Edition
Fundamentals of Pharmacology for Veterinary Technicians, 2nd Edition
Good Governance and Financing of Efficient Veterinary Services (VSPN)
Good Grief – Finding Peace After Pet Loss (VSPN)
How We Do Things Here: Developing and Teaching Office-Wide Protocols (VSPN)
Human – Animal Medicine (VSPN)
Large Animal Clinical Procedures for Veterinary Technicians, 2nd Ed
Large Animal Medicine for Veterinary Technicians (VSPN)
Legal Consents for Veterinary Practices, 4th (VSPN)
McCurnin Tech. 7th Ed.
Medical Math 2nd Ed.
You are hereMedical Math 2nd Ed. (VSPN Review)
Medical Terminology: programmed system approach 10th ed.
Mosby Tech. 3rd Ed. (VSPN Review)
Mosby’s Veterinary PDQ, 2nd Edition (VSPN)
Pain Management for the Small Animal Practitioner, 2nd Ed (VSPN)
Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook, 7th Ed (VSPN Review)
Pocket Guide to APA Style, 4th Ed
Pocket Handbook Of Small Animal Medicine (VSPN)
Research Writer – Curiosity, Discovery and Dialogue
Review Q&A for Vet Techs, 4th Ed. (VSPN Review)
Saunders Anatomy (VSPN Review)
Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary, 4th Ed.
Self-Assessment Color Review: Small Anim Cardiopulmonary Medi (VSPN)
Self-Assessment Color Review: Small Animal Ophthalmology
Sheep Medicine 2nd ed (VSPN)
Sloane’s Medical Word Book, 5th Ed
Small Animal Bandaging, Casting and Splinting Techniques
Small Animal Pediatrics: First 12 Mos. (VSPN Review)
Small Animal Radiographic Techniques and Positioning (VSPN)
Small Animal Veterinary Nerdbook, 3rd Ed
Statistics at the Bench
The Complete Textbook of Veterinary Nursing, 2nd Ed
The Goat Handbook
The Little Book of CT in Veterinary Medicine: A PRACTICAL Guide to CT Technique for Technicians and Veterinarians
The Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health, Home Ed
The Pocket Wadsworth Handbook, 5th ED (VSPN)
The Writer’s Harbrace Handbook 5th Ed
UFAW Handbook Care and Management of Lab and Research Animals, 8th Ed. (VSPN Review)
Unlocking Medical Terminology (VSPN Review)
Veterinary Assisting Fundamentals (VSPN Review)
Veterinary Medical Terminology Guide and Workbook (VSPN)
Veterinary Medicine: It’s More Than You Think (VSPN)
Veterinary Microbiology and Microbial Disease, 2nd Ed.
Veterinary Technology Essentials: Instructors Resource Guide and Student Activities (VSPN)
What’s Next? A Guide to Veterinary Ultrasound of the Eye, Neck, and Shoulder
What’s That? A Beginner’s Guide to Veterinary Abdominal Ultrasound (VSPN)
When Helping Hurts: Compassion Fatigue in the Veterinary Profession (VSPN)
Writing the Research Paper – A Handbook, 8th Ed
* Clinical Tech. 5th Ed.
* Clinical Tech. 6th Ed. (VSPN Review)
* Medical Math.
* SA Surg. Nursing (VSPN Review)
* Saunders Terminology (VSPN Review)
* Vet. Anat. Workbook (VSPN Review)
*Tasks Vet. Asst. 2nd Ed.
*Tasks Vet. Asst. 2nd Ed. (VSPN Review)
*Veterinary Med. Team
Wildlife-Zoo Animals

Date Published: March 12, 2010

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