The Dog Aging Project | PetFirst Pet Insurance
Pet Care & Health

Dog Aging Project – Can You Increase Your Dog’s Life?

by PetFirst Pet Insurance
4 years ago

A team of scientists at Washington University began the Dog Aging Project, and this project was created to identify a scientific breakthrough in the health and longevity in our dog’s lives. The main goal of this project is to perform the first nationwide study of longevity in dogs.

Side profile of a dog's head

The creators of this project, Dr. Daniel Promislow and Dr. Matt Kaeberlein, want to find solutions to prolong the youthful years in a dog’s life, not the difficult years.

I know what you are thinking, how it is possible to increase the lifetime of my dog? Reality, we all want our furry friends to be around forever. Dr. Promislow and his team are working hard to discover new ways to improve your dog’s health and a simple prescription may be the answer.

The doctors are wanting to use a medication called Rapamycin. Rapamycin is used for people to prevent organ transplants and to fight cancer. This medication is FDA approved.

Rapamycin has been known to show improvement in human organs and the immunity system, so the scientists thought why can’t we use this on our pets?

They began by running a test on mice. Mice had a significant increase in heart health, length of life seemed to have improved by an average of 10%, and saw very few side effects. This was great news and gave the team at Washington University the green light to move forward on the study of dog’s health. The project became public and they began recruiting volunteers.

As they launched the study in dogs, they are calling it the Longitudinal Study and the Rapamycin Intervention Trial. The two studies will show ways of how to improve dog’s health. They have kept this study within the U.S. and accepting middle age dogs as volunteers for the project.

As of now, there are three phases of studies and each of these phases lasts different lengths of time. During phase one, the doctors saw improvement in the dog’s health. They saw there was an improvement in the cardiac health – specifically in the left ventricle.

Along with heart health, the correct dosage of Rapamycin was a crucial discovery in phase one. They did not want to harm the dog’s health – particularly the immunity system. They implemented the correct dosage of the medication in phase two. In phase two, the team of doctors will give a low-dose of Rapamycin to healthy middle-aged dogs.

They will be measuring the dog’s health in four different areas:

  • immunity
  • cancer incidence
  • heart function
  • cognitive function

The scientists are hoping that within 5 years they will have evidence that this medication will be able to increase the longevity of a dog’s health by 2- 5 years.

There are many ways that you can be a part of the Dog Aging Project. This group is accepting donations and sponsors. Veterinarians, researchers, and volunteers are asking others to join the crew. Also, you can still enroll your dog into the program. If this is something you are interested in, their webpage has lots of great information.

Sound off on your thoughts in the comment section below!

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