Want your dog to live longer? This drug can help: Research

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Dog owners anywhere in the country can take part in a dog aging project. (AP Photo / Chris Gardner)

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Want your four-legged canine friend to live a few years longer? Researchers are working to make this happen with pills.

The Dog Aging Project from the University of Washington has a mission to find the inner workings of the aging process in dogs and learn how to slow it down.

This initiative brings together dog owners, veterinarians and researchers to address one of the biggest grievances of dog owners – short life expectancy man’s best friendreported on his website.

Dog Aging Project – established in 2018 – is moving forward to its second phase of research, completing the registration of dogs, said in a February press release.

Because dogs age about seven times more than humans, the window for understanding how dogs age and develop disease is much smaller, according to a study published Feb. 2 in Nature. The study also includes researchers from the A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

The next phase of the project will be a clinical trial of a drug that can help slow the age-related disease in dogs by helping them live longer, the project said.

“Rapomitsin [is] an immunosuppressive drug that has been used in humans for decades, ”the press release said. “In smaller doses, rapamycin has been shown to increase life expectancy, improve cardiac and cognitive function, and reduce the incidence of age-related diseases in laboratory species.”

Now researchers believe it may benefit dogs as well. So they check it out.

The project, which studies the aging process of dogs and how rapamycin can affect it, will last at least 10 years, the release said. At the moment, more than 32,000 dogs are enrolled.

If the owner agrees to participate in a clinical trial, his dog will be given a placebo or rapamycin, which will be taken after a while, and their data will be recorded annually.

“Of course, there is relatively little about what is the normative aging of dogs,” said in a press release Dr. Kate Blood, lead author and chief veterinary director of the project on the aging of dogs. “Our data will provide veterinarians and scientists with tools to assess how well a particular dog is aging, and prepare the ground for research into the determinants of regulatory aging.”

Drug testing will not be the only part of the study, the release said. Participating veterinarians will present samples of wool, feces, urine, and blood from selected registered participants to help the team find the stages of dog aging.

Dog owners can visit the project website for more information on the study, or how to burn dogs. Dog owners must complete a questionnaire and take swabs from their pets ’cheeks for DNA sampling.

Alison Cutler is a national real-time reporter for the southeastern McClachie region. She graduated from Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Arizona, and previously worked at The News Leader in Staunton, Virginia, a branch of USAToday.

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