I was tooling around in Washington University‘s library the other day to see what kind of Spanish trouble I could get myself into when I came across Bonnie Frederick and Juan Mosqueda’s book Spanish for Veterinarians: A Practical Introduction. Even though I’m not a veterinarian nor a veterinary science student–in fact, I don’t even have a pet right now–I somehow thought this would be a good book to check out and peruse at home. I mean, who doesn’t want to know how to say “to examine the wing” (examinar el ala) or “to vaccinate the puppies” (vacunar los perritos) en español?
The book has a fun set-up. There are two chapters on verbs, a couple on general situations–that have great titles like “How Long Has the Cow Had a Fever?”, “The Past and Accidents,” and “Telling People What to Do”–, and several on particular animals (horses, cattle, dogs, cats, etc.). But basically the book throws a lot of vocabulary at you with just a little bit about grammar. The idea is that between listening for key words and saying ¡Hable más despacio, por favor!, a vet will be just fine to deal with Spanish-speaking clients. (Good luck with that, folks!) I suppose that if the book is used in tandem with Spanish-language courses things might go okay…until la fiebre de las Montañas Rocallosas (Rocky Mountain Fever) kicks in. ¡Aye!
For me, I was just looking for some fun new words, like la tortuga de caja (box turtle), las pulgas (fleas), and el alpiste (birdseed). I think I’ll leave things like transmissible canine venereal tumor (el tumor venéro transmisible), feline urological syndrome (el síndrome urológico felino) , and intervertebral disk disease (la enfermedad del disco intervertebral) to the professionals using this book. And perhaps I should go back to a plain old picture dictionary for the time being.
Some other good words found inside:
el ala : wing :: cola : tail :: cuerno : horn :: hocico : muzzle
pata : paw :: pico : beak :: la ubre : udder :: pezuña/casco : hoof