Animals can suffer from most diseases which affect human beings. Veterinary and human medicine has a lot in common. Conditions such as cancer, obesity, STD’s and even heart diseases attack both humans and animals. Breast cancer, which is common in human beings, has been found in a number of mammals such as jaguars, tigers and lions. Mammals that are rarely attacked by breast cancer are the professional lactates, such as dairy cows and sheep (Natterson-Horowitz pg. 22-40).
Obesity and diabetes also affect animals. This is so since animals eat food that has been modified only for human consumption. The food has more calories and is designed to have more flavor. This affects the animal’s health just as it affects human health. Animals such as rabbits can suffer from sexually transmitted diseases since they do not practice safe sex. For instance, an epidemic of sexually transmitted chlamydia has greatly reduced the population of the koala in Australia. The vaccine for chlamydia is currently unavailable for humans and 1 in 4 humans die of a sexually transmitted disease (Natterson-Horowitz pg. 98).
Animals such as lions also experience heart-related complications. They can have sacs in their hearts which are full of fluids, resulting in heart failure. Animals can suffer from a heart attack, as well as being frightened to death. This is a result of the type of food the animals consume, a similarity with that of humans. Veterinarians diagnose these problems in animals by observing their respiratory and eating patterns.
Watch the video below to learn more about how people and animals are affected by disease, and what people can learn from animals about medicine!
Natterson-Horowitz. Zoobiquity: The Astonishing Connection Between Human and Animal Health. New York: A. A. Knopf, 2012. Print.