Skip Navigation
National Cancer Institute U.S. National Institutes of Health
Personal tools
You are here: Home News 'Zoobiquity': What Humans Can Learn From Animal Illness
Document Actions

'Zoobiquity': What Humans Can Learn From Animal Illness

NPR Story that aired on Fresh Air on April 22, 2013


Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, a cardiologist at the UCLA Medical Center, coined the term "zoobiquity" to describe the idea of looking to animals and the doctors who care for them to better understand human health. Veterinary medicine had not been on her radar at all until about 10 years ago. That's when she was asked to join the medical advisory board for the Los Angeles Zoo and she began hearing about "congestive heart failure in a gorilla or leukemia in a rhinoceros or breast cancer in a tiger or a lion."

Natterson-Horowitz explores the connection between human and veterinary medicine in a book she co-authored with Kathryn Bowers, Zoobiquity: The Astonishing Connection Between Human and Animal Health. "This comparative way of thinking is something that veterinarians learn from their first week of veterinary school," she tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "When they learn about the heart, they learn about a four-chambered heart in a mammal and a three-chambered heart in a reptile and a two-chambered heart in a fish. ... Physicians, we don't learn that way. We don't think that way."

To read more or listen to the story go to