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

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  2,125 Ratings  ·  307 Reviews
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 veterinari ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 12th 2012 by Doubleday Canada
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So far, this is not going well. She's acting like she discovered something new & then leaves an incorrect impression about how & when animal & human medicine diverged so much. It's really a topic worthy of discussion in this book & I hope she gives it more time. If she doesn't, I won't be finishing the book. As it is, most of her examples are fairly ridiculous so far. Well read, though.

The book has gotten better, but I'm reeling. I've known quite a few doctors & vets. The bes
This book was good enough, but could have been so much better. The overall theme is that there are significant parallels between human and animal health that have been overlooked due to the bifurcation of human and veterinary medicine; this is explored through chapters on problems like cancer, substance abuse, heart ailments, and self-harm. It turns out that some recent "discoveries" in human health have long been known, analogously, by vets; so we should look for more connections to improve hea ...more
Jun 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sciencewriting
I honestly cannot think of anyone who wouldn't benefit from reading this book. Natterson-Horowitz is a doctor who was asked to do cardiovascular surgery on a tamarin. While trying to "reassure" the monkey pre-surgery, she learned about the risks of a condition called capture myopathy found in animals. She's shocked to find this condition, well-studied among vets, bears a striking resemblance to an emerging heart condition in humans. This gets her thinking: What else do vets know all about that c ...more
Dec 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Knjiga je vrlo zanimljiva, kako za amatere, tako i za profesionalce. Ima sasvim dovoljno osvrta na engleskom, pa ću ja ovaj napisati na hrvatskom.
Autorica uglčavnom prilično dobro argumentira svoje teze o povezanosti humane i životinsjke patologije, negdje vrlo uvjerljivo (bolesti ovisnosti, infekcije, deblija), negdje manje (STD, poremećaji prehrane), ali svakako otvara oči na činjenicu da nema jasnog prijelaza između biologije čovjeka i biologije svih ostalih živih bića. i da čak i od crva mož
Intellectually illuminating. Sensational. If you fail to read Zoobiquity, you'll miss out on understanding the most important paradigm to reemerge since the Age of Enlightenment.
Margaret Stohl
Jun 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
They had me at stallion with erectile dysfunction. :) Couldn't put it down, and I'm not a big non-fiction person. Also bought it for my parents and then found my eleven-year-old reading it. So there you go.
Jan 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food-ecology
Eye-opening, though hyper-focused on salacious topics like sex and cutting. One phrase sums up the premise : "Our physical body structures evolved over hundreds of millions of years. Perhaps modern human emotions too have evolved over millennia."

Excerpts :
"Koalas in Australia are in the middle of a rampant epidemic of chlamydia. Veterinarians there are racing to produce a koala chlamydia vaccine."

"Chimpanzees in the wild experience depression and sometimes die of it."

"All living org
Aug 24, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting thesis: There are parallels between human and animal models of disease (for example, takotsubo cardiomyopathy in humans and capture myopathy in prey animals, like small monkeys). But being a medical geek, I would have liked more detail regarding pathophysiology. I also would have liked more depth and insight in the authors' conclusions, apart from "physicians and veterinarians should collaborate." For example, does the comparative study of human and animal diseases give us an evoluti ...more
Jun 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm really enjoying this book. "Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing" provides a novel perspective on understanding human disease and health by looking at similarities and differences found in animals, both domestic and wild (and even dragonflies -- is that a bug?). The book also looks at the evolution of health and disease dating back to the time of the dinosaurs. Also, the authors also nicely dives into mental health issues "across species" which I foun ...more
Jul 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't give many five star ratings! This was the most interesting book I've read in years! It should be required reading in EVERY medical school. Written by a cardiologist and a science writer, carefully documented, and informed by veterinarians and wildlife biologists, this book brings it all together - and encourages a One Health approach, where physicians for ALL species can learn from each other, to the benefit of all. WHO KNEW that animals had similar problems with addictions, mental healt ...more
Jennifer Ridgway
The author, a (human) cardiologist and consultant for a zoo, takes us into the new world of Zoobiquity: trying to learn about humans by looking at other animals (and vice versa). While we have a history of using animals in our research (medical, pharmacological, beauty), doctors have not tended to be open to veterinarian medicine and animal studies as a way to learn about or gain insight into human biology.

Horowitz et al are looking to change that. She goes into various animal situations/conditi
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am loving this book. I am not even half way through it and I want to buy it for ALL my veterinary friends, as well as my MD well as ANYONE who has any interest in science or animals or health or people....

It is well written, definitely written for the "non" doctor person, but enough science to appeal to the scientist as well. I'll admit there are a few things that I, as a veterinarian, have caught as questionably factual, but not enough to take issue with the author.

Will continue
Dec 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My biggest issue with the book was (1) some claims felt a bit broad and (2) each chapter seemed a bit too self-contained, so that reading the entire thing got repetitive by the end. Still, it's a really wonderful collection of insights and a compelling argument for a more holistic approach to pan-species medicine.
Dec 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an important book that not only needs to be in the hands of people, but more importantly, needs to be in the hands of medical doctors. A clear and cogent book about one Health, I would put this on the top of every To Read list. Written by a medical doctor, it's a real wake-up call.
Zoobiquity is a surprisingly well-referenced, knowledgeable pop-science book (some of you will know it's hard to find these!) which deals with the concept of human animal, and other animal medicine. It essentially says that the human medical world would be vastly improved and probably a great deal more efficient in certain areas, if medical doctors trained only in the human body let go of their condescending bias towards veterinarians (which is a generalisation, but can be frankly seen throughou ...more
Johan Haneveld
Jul 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Usually I'm not that much of a career enthusiast that I start to read books in my free time that have to do with my profession. I usually keep work and the rest of my life separated. However, I chose my job as the editor of the Dutch veterinary journal for a reason, and that is that I am quite interested in biology, love animals, love studying their ways of life, and their diversity. I am still a bit sad that I did not study biology in college. But I did study biomedical sciences! And I did that ...more
Aug 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From pet canines sucking toads to derive "highs", to pet birds plucking their own feathers despite the pain, to adolescent antelopes daring predatory cheetahs to attack them, this book is a fascinating trip through the similarities in the animal world to equivalent human behavior. The examples are just a few of the correlations. The canine example is from a chapter describing how humans (and all animals) are built neurologically to derive rewards from life through participating in activities tha ...more
Rachael (RachaelReviewsAll)
A time ago I wanted to be a vet. So when I came across this book it sparked a curiosity in me. There are very few medical popular science books around, and even fewer veterinary related ones. And I have to say it was a truly illuminating book, and one anyone interested in medicine (be it animal or human) or science should read.

Although written by two authors, Zoobiquity is written from the perspective of Dr Natterson, a doctor, and her journey discovering comparative medicine. The book is very e
Feb 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, non-fiction
I have always loved comparative studies of humans and other animals. I have fought against the dismissal of "anthropomorphizing" because it's often just arrogant and ignorant - so naturally this book's premise appealed to me greatly!

There is nothing new in this book. That is to say, the topics Natterson-Horowitz and Bowers talk about have been studied and hypothesized for years. This is, at best, a lit review. Worse is that the two authors present the info that is clearly new to them as if it i
Jane Eaton Hamilton
Kick-ass book. Talks about animals and disease, moves to roargasms, into zoophoria and the drugs behind it, why animals are getting fat, animal self-injury, eating disorders, infections, adolescent parting. A book about the intersection of human and animal medicine which could not be better done. Better and better page by page. Pg 91, on addiction:

"A friendly cocker spaniel in TX once sent her owners' lives into a tailsprin when she turned her attention to toad licking. Lady had been the perfect
Oct 03, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Did you know that even insects may be capable of orgasm? Or that given the opportunity most animals will gorge to the point of becoming morbidly obese? Or that STDs are threatening to kill off California sea lions and Australia's beloved koala?

"Zoobiquity" is a sometimes insightful and educational read on the astonishing similarities and connections between animals and humans, as far as health goes anyway. Some of the ideas presented are surprising and fun to read about. But much of the rest won
Feb 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you have pets or livestock or otherwise are involved in animal care, you know that vets always look to the human medical world for answers. They don't only stay with the animal world. Unfortunately, human doctors aren't as open-minded. Natterson-Horowitz is an MD who had her eyes opened by what vets and others involved with animal health can teach her. Zoobiquity talks about these collaborations then presents several chapters, each with examples from a particular field (eating disorders/weigh ...more
Jim Fix
May 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The writing is outstanding. Everyone can understand the presentations. And there is fascinating information in every chapter--science is sugar-coated as people- and animal-stories, so it goes down very, very well. The overriding theme is the growing benefit to us all by having close collaboration between medical researchers of human diseases and veterinary scientists because the animal kingdom is plagued by virtually all the ailments that affect humans. I'll quote an old joke here, that physicia ...more
Dec 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Coming from a background of medical anthropology and disease ecology, I found this book to be one of the best written books on the subject. There are books out there with more detailed information but that is not the purpose of this book- this book exposes the reader to "zoobiquitous" thinking and does an excellent job providing simple examples without getting lost in the details. For those like me that are more interested in the science of her anecdotes, there is a reference section in the back ...more
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the author interview with Terry Gross. But I think that 30 minutes was all the material she had. Her premise is that as a physician she has learned more about human disease and behavior by working with veterinarians. But she explores the two disciplines in parallel and does not bring them together. Topics vary and include syncope, eating disorders, obesity, cancer, pathogens, MI, addictions, sexuality, and self mutilation. But the information is presented as fleshed-out bullet p ...more
The theories and ideas in this book were very interesting. I don't know how much water some of them actually hold, but just about every connection between humans and animals that the authors propose is worth some thought. For example, is it actually true that surly teenagers avoid eye contact with their parents because of a subconscious instinct to avoid challenging an older or dominant figure, much as dogs avoid eye contact to prevent a fight? I have no idea. But it's an interesting thought, an ...more
Excellent book. I'm all about integrating knowledge so I liked this book from the premise. Engaging writing style, lots of interesting anecdotes. Since I am a selfish selfish person, my takeaways from the book are mostly about how to keep myself happy by acknowledging that humans are animals who need sleep, companionship, etc. Also explains why cereal is more satisfying when you do the small act of preparing it by pouring it into a cup than when you eat it straight out of the bag (b/c preparatio ...more
Thing Two
Hot off the presses, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book, and it was a fun read.

Here's what I learned:

1) Some Octopi are cutters.
2) Never stare at an animal directly in the eyes; you may kill it.
3) Dr. Kevorcian might have a counterpart in the animal world; terminally ill animals commit suicide, too.
4) Dragonflies, infected with a parasite, become obese.
5) Stress causes heart attacks in monkeys.
6) Killer Whales get lymphoma.
7) Grasshoppers binge on sugar when stressed.
8) Kangaroos and s
Cassandra Kay Silva
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Wonderful! Overweight Dragonfly's, Ticklish Rats, Animals that cut and mutilate themselves, wild animals that are overweight,anorexic, STD rampant and have OCD? Awesome! We are all the same! This breaks down a lot of the preconceived notions about our unique "humanness" and brings us all back to the animal level. It also points out quite well the flawed approach to elevating M.D.'s into orbit status while ignoring their veterinarian counterparts who often have a lot to teach us about ourselves a ...more
Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite non-fiction book of the year so far. It's a fascinating look at the connections between humans and other animals, the diseases and behaviors that we share: teenage rebellion, addiction, eating disorders, heart disease. This is a funny, enlightening and surprising book. Did you know that spiders have penises? I didn't but I do now.
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Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, M.D., earned her degrees at Harvard and the University of California, San Francisco. She is a cardiology professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and serves on the medical advisory board of the Los Angeles. Zoo as a cardiovascular consultant. Her writing has appeared in many scientific and medical publications.
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“One thing is clear: cancer is not unique to humans. And neither is it a product of our modern times.” 1 likes
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