Any dog lover knows that there are countless reasons to add a furry friend to your family, but there are still drawbacks to take into consideration. The most obvious downside of owning a dog is the average dog’s life span isn’t nearly as long as other pets, but this may not be the case for much longer. Researchers at the University of Washington are researching how to lengthen a dog’s lifespan.
To track the aging of dogs, researchers at the University of Washington have begun the Dog Aging Project. The first of its kind, this project is doing clinical trials of a drug called rapamycin.
Traditionally this drug is used in large doses to help the human body fight organ translate rejection. However, small doses have been proven to extend the lifespan on lab mice.
So far, the drug has been able to increase the lifespan of animals it’s been tested on by 90, 40, and 50 percent by targeting the pathways in the body that effect aging.
During this first clinical trial, a test group of 30 middle-aged dogs were given low-dose rapamycin pills three times per week for a 10-week span. Owners of dogs in the study said that they saw positive changes in their dog’s activity levels, they exhibited behavior reminiscent of their puppy years.
Right now, the Dog Aging Project team is working on completing a large federal grant proposal. If full funding is successfully secured, the team believes that within five years they will be able to increase a dog’s lifespan between two and five years.
I think I speak for all dog lovers in saying that the opportunity to spend even another year with our four-legged family members would make a world a difference, but two to five years would be unbelievable!
Now we just have to keep our paws crossed that they secure the funding necessary to help every dog-owners dream come true.
H/t to WSB-TV
Featured image via @adognameddeer / Instagram