"Zoobiquity" is a book named for the term co-authors Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers have coined to refer to a new species-spanning approach to health.
The authors gave a lecture April 9, 2013 in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union.
Approximately 200 people attended the lecture to hear Bowers and Natterson-Horowitz discuss their book and research of zoobiquity.
The term zoobiquity refers to the fact that animals and humans have the same diseases, yet physicians and veterinarians rarely compare one to the other.
The lecture noted a milestone, with the release of "Zoobiquity" in paperback for the first time, with a newly redesigned cover.
“We are really pleased to be here at Iowa State for this milestone for our book and our ideas,” Bowers said.
Bowers and Natterson-Horowitz have explored through their research how the commonality between humans and animals can be used to diagnose, treat and heal patients of all species, human and non-human.
Natterson-Horowitz asked the audience whether or not animals can get brain tumors, have sexual dysfunctions, arthritis, breast cancer or sexually transmitted diseases.
There were some head nods from the audience members.
“When we’ve given this lecture to veterinary students and veterinarians, we usually get the reaction I just saw,” Natterson-Horowitz said. “But when I give the same lecture to physicians and medical students, it’s a little different. There is talking in the audience and sometimes laughter,” Natterson-Horowitz said.
A goal for both Natterson-Horowitz and Bowers is to break the barrier between physicians and veterinarians to benefit health as a whole.
“One of the challenges has been that human medicine has not recognized veterinary medicine as clinical peers, and we're trying to expand how the human medical community understands the contribution of veterinarians,” Natterson-Horowitz said.
Natterson-Horowitz and Bowers have tried to make their book readable by all, and also a little humorous, with chapters titled "Dr. House meet Dr. Doolittle," "Zoophoria," and "The Koala and the Clap."
The authors discussed how animals have similar diseases to humans such as breast cancer in almost all mammals from whales to jaguars, separation anxiety in canines, eating disorders in pigs, chlamydia in koalas and animals with OCD.
Students were drawn to the lecture for a number of reasons.
Allison Engwall is an animal science pre-veterinary student who was interested in hearing about the connection between animals and humans.
“I really liked the section about animals with psychological disorders. I hadn’t ever thought about that before,” Engwall said.
Haley Holbrook is also a pre-veterinary student at Iowa State, and knew the lecture would be interesting for her.
“My favorite part was the cancer being found in dinosaur bones. It was really surprising to me,” Holbrook said.
Through their lecture, Natterson-Horowitz and Bowers hope to spread the word and to benefit both animals and humans by “bridging the gap” between physicians and veterinarians.
“The real risk is failing to see these important and deep connections we share with animals,” Natterson-Horowitz said.