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Wharton, R.N. (2020). Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing, by Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Katherine Bowers, Knopf, New York, 2012, 320pp.. Psychodyn. Psych., 48(3):360-361.

(2020). Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 48(3):360-361

Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing, by Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Katherine Bowers, Knopf, New York, 2012, 320pp.

Review by:
Ralph N. Wharton, M.D.

Zoobiquity was a best seller upon publication—and has led to the development of Zoobiquity conferences around the world—in New York City, Boston, Seattle, Sydney, Australia, and in Utrecht, Netherlands.

Schools of medicine—from UCLA, Washington State, and Tufts University, for example—have had joint meetings with their veterinary schools for discussion of the many diseases that have effects in man and animals. I clearly recall on day one at Columbia University Medical Center, Dr. Dana W. Atchley said he expected every new student to take care of patients, and family pets. His was a skilled researcher, teacher, and practitioner model. He would have loved this book as much as I.

In my opinion, there is no one in my class at Columbia, or on the current staff of the hospital, that embodies the ideal of Dr. D. W. Atchley. Dr Barbara Natterson-Horowitz may at least approach his standards.

Each of the 12 chapters has appeal. Chapter 1, “Dr. House meets Dr. Dolittle,” presents a history of writings about the emotional lives of animals and then clarifies a delightful story of “capture myopathy.” The phenomenon is more detailed in Chapter 6. It was first discovered over 100 years ago, when after pursuit rhabdomyolysis takes place. “Mind over myocardium” or other muscles takes place. The syndrome can occur in moose, deer, buffalo, and zebras.

Chapter 2, “Feint of Heart,” reviews the limits of our knowledge of vaso-vagal reactions and postulates about its evolutionary meaning. She revisits fight or flight or freeze.

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