Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing

Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, M.D., and Kathryn Bowers. Knopf, $27.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-307-59348-1
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. Agent: Tina Bennett, Janklow & Nesbit. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/23/2012
Release date: 06/12/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
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