“There is, after all, something truly awe inspiring about seeing  the world through genetic and evolutionary connectedness—almost  a unified field theory  of biology. It reminds us of our shared predicaments; it broadens our empathy and understanding.”

Dr. Natterson-Horowitz & Kathryn Bowers, Zoobiquity

At Clinician’s Brief, we are proud to be proponents of and partners with the One Health Initiative. Accordingly, we were excitedly anticipating the publication of Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing (zoobiquity.com), written by UCLA cardiologist Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, MD, and medical journalist Kathryn Bowers. Written from the viewpoint of Dr. Natterson-Horowitz, the book describes clinical conditions (from cardiovascular disorders to psychiatry and addiction) across multiple species and draws heavily from scientific research, interviews, and pop culture to promulgate her theory: that we are more similar to our nonhuman counterparts than different, and that in recognition of and with an emphasis on such similarities we will serve all humanity.

I was also excited to look at the syllabus from the 2011 Zoobiquity conference. Many of my friends who trained at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine spent their initial 2 years training with medical and dental students; I truly believe that this approach to learning must have facilitated fantastic exchanges of information and collaboration among these professionals. This is, again, the essence of the One Health Initiative.

Here are my top 5 reasons that veterinarians should read Zoobiquity:
1. Zoobiquity promulgates the One Health model and encourages all medical professionals to practice “zoobiquitous” medicine. The benefits of this are clear, expansive, and continuously being recognized. Dr. Natterson-Horowitz herself notes, “My own zoobiquitous journey has utterly changed how I practice and teach medicine.” If collaborative zoobiquitous medicine makes us better doctors, why shouldn’t we do it?

2. Zoobiquity highlights the luminaries in our field. I was thrilled beyond belief to recognize the names of several former professors and classmates—I’m sure that you will too.

3. Zoobiquity encourages us to learn and re-learn. I had forgotten that German shepherds are predisposed to renal cystadenocarcinoma. I knew very little about capture myopathy in animals, takotsubo cardiomyopathy in humans, and the newly proposed (by Dr. Natterson-Horowitz) FRADE—or fear/restraint-associated death events.

4. Zoobiquity reminds us that we are talented scientists and diagnosticians. Dr. Natterson-Horowitz noted that human medicine has an undeniable (yet unspoken) bias against veterinary medicine, and although veterinarians see and treat illnesses spanning a variety of species, physicians largely ignore this fact. 

I have suffered from resigned feelings of inadequacy, both in my graduate coursework with physicians and when I try to convince clients that I am trying to practice good medicine for their pets. The infusion of professional vitality from mutual respect and collaboration in this book is remarkable. I am proud to be a veterinarian, even more so after reading this.

5. Zoobiquity is simply a wonderful read. Like the best of scientific literature, with many veterinarians in its cast of characters.

Indu Mani, DVM, DSc