Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing by cardiologist Natterson Horowitz and journalist Kathryn Bowers is about the commonality of disease processes in humans and the animal kingdom.
The authors discuss such things as how the dinosaurs suffered from brain cancer and gorillas experience depression. They note that the heart rate of white-tailed deer slows down in response to the presence of danger;such as wolves.
The authors document that smoke, alcohol, excess sunlight and obesity alter the DNA sequences to yield various types of cancer. Large species like blue whales have a lower incidence of cancer due to Peto's Paradox. The DNA replication in large animals protects them from cancer according to this principle.
Animals like wolves have an inherent instinct for self preservation even if intolerable pain is one of the choices. For instance, a wolf will gnaw off a paw to be freed from a hunter's snare.
The authors show how severe stress is known to alter the heart chemistry through a process called takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Examples are neurogenic myocardial stunning, stress-induced cardiomyopathy and transient left ventricular apical ballooning. Physicians understand takotsubo because the heart communicates with the brain, starting from the womb.
Obese humans have greater numbers of firmicutes in the intestine;whereas thin people have greater bacteroidetes there. The firmicutes are all gram-positive bacteria;whereas proteobacteria which are gram-negative. Mice experience a similar phenomena as obese humans. Therefore, diet and exercise are not the only factors influencing weight gain or loss.
Koalas get diseases also found in humans such as chlamydia. Animals also commit suicide; such as those with terminal parasitic infections.
Zoobiquity is an excellent book which explains the commonality between human and animal disease processes. The book is well researched. Samples of research citations are the Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, the Spanish Journal of Psychology and the International Journal of Eating Disorders.
The authors believe that understanding disease processes in animals will benefit humans, as well as animals.