In the spring of 2005, cardiologist Barbara Natterson-Horowitz was called to consult on an unusual patient: an Emperor tamarin at the Los Angeles Zoo. While examining the tiny monkey’s sick heart, she learned that wild animals can die of a form of cardiac arrest brought on by extreme emotional stress. It was a syndrome identical to a human condition but one that veterinarians called by a different name—and treated in innovative ways.
This remarkable medical parallel launched Natterson-Horowitz on a journey of discovery that reshaped her entire approach to medicine. She began to search for other connections between the human and animal worlds: Do animals get breast cancer, anxiety-induced fainting spells, sexually transmitted diseases? Do they suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, bulimia, addiction?
The answers were astonishing. Dinosaurs suffered from brain cancer. Koalas catch chlamydia. Reindeer seek narcotic escape in hallucinogenic mushrooms. Stallions self-mutilate. Gorillas experience clinical depression.
Joining forces with science journalist Kathryn Bowers, Natterson-Horowitz employs fascinating case studies and meticulous scholarship to present a revelatory understanding of what animals can teach us about the human body and mind. “Zoobiquity” is the term the authors have coined to refer to a new, species-spanning approach to health. Delving into evolution, anthropology, sociology, biology, veterinary science, and zoology, they break down the walls between disciplines, redefining the boundaries of medicine.
Zoobiquity explores how animal and human commonality can be used to diagnose, treat, and heal patients of all species. Both authoritative and accessible, offering cutting-edge research through captivating narratives, this provocative book encourages us to see our essential connection to all living beings.
The fossil record indicates that dinosaurs developed cancer. Chlamydia is rampant in wild koala bear populations. Wallabies in Tasmania are hooked on opium. In this intriguing book, cardiologist and psychiatrist Natterson-Horowitz, along with science journalist Bowers, explore some of humanity's most pressing health problems (cancer, obesity) through the eyes of the animal kingdom. The authors argue in favor of the "One Health" worldview, which brings doctors and veterinarians into close collaboration to discuss causation and treatment of diseases. For example, since stress-induced heart attacks affect both humans and animals, who's to say that human doctors can't learn from the research of veterinarians, and vice versa? The book features countless intriguing anecdotes of cross-species health problems, such as the cocker spaniel who became addicted to licking a toad or the stallion with mating problems, as well as some unforgettable one-liners: "all male mammals descend from a shared ancestral ejaculator." But the memorable examples are intended to serve the greater purpose of emphatically demonstrating that doctors and veterinarians would benefit from working together. Despite the remarkable content, the book's formulaic structure means that it is best consumed in small bites. Still, after finishing, you're guaranteed to never look at your dog, cat, or any other animal the same way again.