Cornell clinicians and alumni collaborate on new dairy cattle textbook, honor a mentor

Cornell-affiliated veterinarians have authored the third edition of Rebhun’s Diseases of Dairy Cattle, edited by Simon Peek Ph.D. ’98 and Thomas Divers, the Rudolph J. and Katharine L. Steffen Professor of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University. The book’s cover showcases original artwork painted by alumna Laurie Peek DVM ’96 of the major breeds of dairy cows in a lush pasture.

The textbook serves as an all-in-one guide to dairy cattle disease management and covers all bovine body systems. The first edition of the book was authored by Cornell graduate and clinician William C. Rebhun, former chief of the Large Animal Hospital at the College and known as a tireless equine and bovine clinician with expertise in medicine, surgery, and ophthalmology. Many chapters in the third edition of the textbook are written or co-written by either college alumni or veterinarians who worked with Dr. Rebhun.

“This book represents the collective work of multiple authors, the majority of whom still have some connection to Bill [Rebhun],” Peek and Divers write in the preface. “Bill was as strong an advocate of individual animal diagnostics and treatment as anyone who ever took the Veterinarian’s Oath, but he would have championed a continued and pivotal role for veterinarians within dairy practice whatever twists and turns the industry took. For Bill, what was never acceptable was a lack of compassion for the patient or the failure to commit relentless attention to the pursuit of those clinical skills that distinguish veterinarians from all others in the industry. If nothing more, this book is meant to foster and reinforce those priorities.”

The textbook also features an accompanying interactive website, which provides videos of clinical cases that readers can reference and review for more in-depth understanding. This feature is not common in veterinary texts and represents a step forward in comprehensive, multi-media education for veterinarians.

Peek and Divers dedicated the third edition of Rebhun’s textbook to another Cornellian, Robert Hillman DVM ‘55, CVM professor and renowned large animal theriogenologist, “generally considered one of the best large animal veterinarians to ever practice and teach at Cornell University,” write Peek and Divers.  As a former student of Hillman’s, Rebhun himself noted that Hillman was probably the most skilled clinician he ever met. “We are certain the dedication of this book to Dr. Hillman for his tremendous contribution to veterinary medicine would be loudly applauded by Dr. Rebhun.” The authors continue in their dedication. “Bob, we are so honored to have worked with you and learned from you, and we thank you for your numerous contributions to our veterinary profession!”