Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us about Health and the Science of Healing by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz


Zoobiquity is a nonfiction book written by a heart specialist for humans.  Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz is often called in as a consultant at the Los Angeles Zoo for animals with heart problems.  One day when she was at the zoo, the head veterinarian mentioned a heart condition that vets have known about for decades and yet human doctors only discovered ten years ago. The name was different, but the condition was the same. Zoobiquity is the result of Natterson-Horowitz's efforts to discover what other medical and psychological conditions humans and animal share.

Dr. Natterson-Horowitz begins by explaining that for decades now veterinarians have searched human medical journals for help with their animal patients, but human doctors very seldom consult with veterinarians or read the veterinary medical journals. She began to wonder what else medical doctors have missed by not encouraging an exchange of information. As a heart doctor who is also a psychiatrist, she also began to wonder how many other conditions and psychoses we share with our animal counterparts. 

Zoobiquity looks into such questions as do animals also suffer from anorexia, suicide, self-mutilation? Do some animals have obesity, drug addictions, or sexually-transmitted diseases? Is there a way we can apply our understanding of our animal counterparts to change the way we treat these conditions in humans?  Other issues she discusses are how diseases have jumped from animals to humans, what we are doing to watch for these deadly outbreaks, and, more importantly, what we are doing to prevent them.

My husband listened to the audio version on Zoobiquity, and he loved it!  Now he is telling everyone he knows (including our vet) how interesting this book is. It made me rethink many of the conditions that I always considered as “human” only.