The University of Washington School of Medicine and the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences have launched a 10 year study involving 10,000 dogs to research what helps canines live long, healthy lives. The goal is to understand how genes, lifestyle, and environment influence aging.

Aging is the major cause of many common diseases. Dogs age more quickly than people and get many of the same diseases caused by aging.

WHAT IS THE DOG AGING PROJECT?

Named the “Dog Aging Project” owners can nominate their dog as a candidate for study. Dogs of every size, age, gender, neutered or not, healthy or with chronic illness, and in any location are welcome to nominate their pet. A subset of participating dogs will be selected to be part of a clinical study to explore the potential of the drug rapamycin to improve healthspan.┬áIn a phase 1 study of companion dogs it has been shown to be safe and they are now moving into phase 2 clinical trials with dogs to gain a better insight on its effects on longevity.

WHAT IS RAPAMYCIN?

Rapamycin, also called sirolimus, is currently being used in humans as an immunosuppressant to prevent organ transplant rejection. It is considered a type of antibiotic, as well as an immunosuppressant. It has been found to increase life span in laboratory mice, male mice by 23% and female mice by 26%. It may also delay, or even reverse, nearly every age-related disease or decline in function in which it has been tested in mice, rats, and companion dogs, including cancers, cardiac dysfunction, kidney disease, obesity, cognitive decline, periodontal disease, macular degeneration, muscle loss, stem cell function, and immune senescence.

Three dogs sitting in the evening in front of a cereal field

WHAT IS YOUR INVOLVEMENT?

All you have to do is provide detailed health and lifestyle information about your dog through questionnaires and veterinary medical records. That information will enable veterinarians to understand aging and integrate their findings about dogs with other medical programs around the world.

This work with dogs has an added value of shedding light on human aging as well.

To enroll your pet or to find out more information, please visit https://dogagingproject.org/