Human medicine can be reductive from animal care. What do you call a vet who treats only one species? A physician. (A joke from veterinarians).

The problem, raised in a new book called Zoobiquity, is that the medical community, cemented by some pretty rigid hierarchy, is failing to see the (depressed) monkey for the jungle. If we want to be cured of everything from cancer to depression, perhaps physicians should talk to the animals. And, more precisely, to their doctors.

Before the turn of the century, particularly in small rural towns, the doctor who helped to bring the human kids into the world was likely to be doing double duty with the foals in the horse barns. But then cities replaced farms, and medicine became more professional and specialized, and, with few exception, physicians and veterinarians parted ways.

“Physicians can be really condescending about recognizing vets as their clinical peers,” says cardiologist Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, who co-wrote the book with science writer Kathryn Bowers and coined the term “zoobiquity” to refer to a species-sweeping approach to medicine. “And that’s wrong because, in many ways, they have a much harder job.”

The most obvious: Dogs and cats can’t explain when the pain started.

What doctors can learn from Fifi and Fido | Erin Anderssen | June 16, 2012 | The Globe and Mail at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/what-doctors-can-learn-from-fifi-and-fido/article4275287/.

What doctors can learn from Fifi and Fido - The Globe and Mail

See the http://zoobiquity.com/home for the book, Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us about Health and the Science of Healing.

There’s also an excerpt from the book.

We are in the midst of an “obesity epidemic,” and I’m not talking about overweight humans. Domestic animals around the world are fatter than ever, and steadily gaining weight. [….]

With our pets’ excess pounds have come a familiar suite of obesity-related ailments: diabetes, cardiovascular problems, musculoskeletal disorders, glucose intolerance, some cancers and, possibly, high blood pressure.

They’re familiar because we see nearly identical problems in obese human patients. And just as in our population, these weight-related diseases among dogs and cats often lead to premature death.

Zoobiquity: Animals are fat like us | Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers | June 15, 2012 | Globe and Mail at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/books-and-media/zoobiquity-animals-are-fat-like-us/article4275706/

Zoobiquity: Animals are fat like us - The Globe and Mail