June 18, 2012
Back in the 1800s the town doctor was responsible for treating both humans and animals, but somewhere around the turn of the 20th century, physicians and veterinarians split into separate camps. While the “animal docs” saw and treated the same diseases that occur in humans, “people docs” ignored this fact, thereby missing the opportunity to improve the health of their own species. In 2005, when a tiny tamarin monkey went into heart failure at the Los Angeles Zoo, cardiologist Barbara Natterson-Horowitz was called in to consult. What she learned at this pivotal examination compelled her to research the common diseases affecting all species. She found a plethora of evidence, including gout and brain tumors in dinosaurs, chlamydia in Koalas, breast cancer in jaguars, octopuses that self-mutilated and gorillas that died from the same heart condition that killed Lucille Ball. Zoobiquity offers a fascinating new paradigm on everything from the protective power of fainting to the relationship between the heart and mind in sudden cardiac arrest. By fusing veterinary, human and evolutionary medicine, Dr. Natterson-Horowitz is redefining the practice of doctoring, and providing hope for treating ancient ailments.