This study explored whether previous experiences with human diabetes influenced how people perceived and responded to the onset of diabetes in a companion animal, and if the experience of diabetic pet care might influence people's thinking and actions in relation to human health. We conducted a series of semi-structured interviews with sixteen (16) pet owners who had treated dogs and cats for diabetes, along with semi-structured interviews with seven (7) health care professionals and an appraisal of documentary sources. We found that talking with pet owners about their experience of diabetic pet care brought to the surface poignant reflections on human health and health care. They did not strictly separate human health from what they had learned in the course of caring for a companion animal, in other words, even as they recognized and honored species differences. These findings suggest that the anthropological concept of illness prototypes is relevant for the field of anthrozoology. Indeed, illness prototypes that cross species boundaries may prove useful for health researchers, animal welfare organizations, veterinarians, and professionals who treat human patients or who aim to promote human health.
|Author Address||Population Health Intervention Research Centre, University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Dr NW, Calgary, Alberta, T4N 4N1, Canada.email@example.com|
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