Anatomy and Physiology of Animals

Samantha DiDonato

The book cover image depicts a dog licking his mouth and smiling.

Lawson, R. (2015). The Anatomy and Physiology of Animals. Wikibooks

Reviewed by: Samantha DiDonato, Lehman College.


The Anatomy and Physiology of Animals is a textbook-esque culmination of information sourced through Wikipedia articles. It has a CC-BY-NC-SA license, so users can remix and adapt this work non-commercially as long as the original author is credited and new copies are licensed identically.  Its author, Ruth Lawson, is a zoologist who structured the book around animals found in general veterinary practices and provides information on their body and their functions to further understand possible diseases, injuries, and proceeding treatments. It targets key information vital for veterinary nurses and those entering the veterinary field.


Content: This book covers a broad range of subjects about anatomy and physiology and goes in-depth on different structures and processes within the body. Its focus is on animals encountered in general veterinary practices. The content seems accurate and clear with relevant information, however, there are few descriptions that seem generalized or incomplete. There are a few grammatical errors that do not decrease comprehension.

Structure, Organization, & Technical: This book breaks down content into 16 easily navigable chapters, varying from cell structure to functions of the bodily systems. The Cardiovascular System chapter is partial, with much of the information for that chapter missing. Each chapter has a logical flow. Within each section, there are objectives to guide the reader and subheadings to divide content into easier, manageable topics. At the end of each chapter, there is a summary of information as well as questions to test yourself to see if the information has been digested. There are hyperlinks to lead to other resources so that users know where the information is taken from. Some of the hyperlinks lead to different sections of the book. It is authored by Ruth Lawson but provides a list of contributors towards the end of the book as well as how many edits they did on the work.

Images & Interactive Features: Figures, tables, and images are utilized to help visualize information. Each section and subsection has at least one figure, table, or image that is relevant to the chapter. The majority of the images are black and white and some have color. There is an inconsistency with the quality of images. Clearer, more colorful images would aid in comprehension of the material. Each figure, table, or image has a title and description to help users identify what is being referred to and break down the information. Hyperlinks are used to navigate through different sections of the book or lead to websites where the information is taken from. There are no videos embedded in the book and there seem to be no links to lead to an external video.

Social Justice & Equity: This evaluation is not entirely applicable to this resource. The resource is an informative, unbiased take on cell and body structures within animals typically found in a general veterinary setting. There are no apparent regional, financial, or cultural discrepancies within the content of the book pertaining to various species of general veterinary medicine and the professionals that work with them.

This book does, however, take into account user accessibility for those who are financially insecure by providing access to individuals who may not afford veterinary textbooks but would like to or need to learn this information. It is mainly accessed via PDF and is not readily accessible in print, so users would need to print it on their own. If accessing for the first time, Wifi access is also needed to open the resource as a PDF but after saving the PDF, Wifi is not necessarily required.

The contributors’ section does not have explicit naming and background information so users are unable to know how diverse their group is.

Accessibility: This book is accessible to those with digital technology. It does not seem to have a readily accessible paper copy but it can be printed. If printed then the hyperlinks clearly will not work. Creative Commons licensing is explicit as a CC-BY-NC-SA license that allows users to remix and adapt the content as long as the author is credited and new creations are licensed identically. The content is easily comprehensible to its intended audience and the figures, tables, and images are clear and easy to understand as they provide descriptions. There does not appear to be accommodations for blind or colorblind users embedded in the text but it may work with secondary applications that would. As an online source that can be remixed, this book stands to have the capability of being translated into various languages for non-English speakers.

Supplemental Materials: This book is published by Wikibooks and provides hyperlinks to supplemental articles within the “wiki-verse” to show where the information is coming from. Within each Wikipedia article are annotations from other sources that users can click on and find where the authors and editors cited their information. There are supplemental materials accessed via hyperlinks to worksheets. These worksheets allow users to use the information they learned and apply it to various ideas and topics using techniques such as fill-in-the-blanks, drawings, and diagrams.

Overall Review

Overall, this book seems to be an acceptable resource for those studying to be a veterinarian or veterinary nurse. It provides basic and broad information about cells, body structures, and functions as well as various diseases, injuries, and treatments for animals in general veterinary settings. While it does not cover exotic or large species, it provides sufficient information on how different processes work within a vertebrate body which can be applied to many different species that are not specifically covered in this book. The information seems accurate and balanced for an initial look into the veterinary field. Although a Wikipedia source, the book has hyperlinks to Wikipedia articles which have annotations leading to resources which editors acquired their information from. While Wikipedia’s credibility is controversial, there is definitely a lot of useful information in this book that seems to have credible citations when looking through the linked Wikipedia articles.

The title of this book seems misleading in that it would cover a broader range of species. I think a subtitle would enhance the user’s understanding of its contents. The contributors’ section would need to be more explicit so that users would know the diversity of those editing this book. This book could also work on adding more user accessibility accommodations for disabled persons. It could also provide colored images to encourage engagement with the material.


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Evaluating OER for Social Justice Copyright © 2022 by Samantha DiDonato is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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