Pioneering veterinarian Dr. Nicholas Dodman reveals his theory of One Medicine, which emphasizes the similarities, rather than the differences, between human and animal neurochemistry. Narrating his own experiences with a wide variety of animals, Dr. Dodman provides strong anecdotal evidence that animals experience emotions similar to humans, from racehorses with Tourette’s syndrome, spinning dogs with epilepsy, cats with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and feather-plucking parrots with anxiety.
Pets on the Couch is a touching collection of stories that reinforces what pet owners already know—that animals experience pain and pleasure and they lead complex emotional lives. Although I have heard of Puppy Prozac, Dr. Dodman showcases a wide range of drugs that produce a similar effect in animals as humans, not just the SSRIs. He also uses PET/CT scans and MRIs when available, and recounts a little of the genetic testing of OCD and autism in his lab at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.
The disadvantage of being an easily digestible book is the focus on anecdotal, experience-based storytelling, which produces more of a professional memoir in which Dr. Dodman pats himself on the back a lot. His career clearly illustrates that he should be patting himself on the back, but the details of the rigorous scientific studies are missing. And while there are some special tidbits in behavioral research, Dr. Dodman does not focus on lifestyle changes to attempt before resorting to drugs for your pet’s problems.
Recommended for animals lover and pet owners, particularly dogs!