If you’re a dog lover, here’s an interesting study to tug at one’s heartstrings:
The University of Washington wants to figure out how to keep our canine pals living longer,
healthier, and therefore, happier lives. Here’s the plan:
- The study is billed as the largest long-term study of aging in dogs ever done. The professors hope to learn what determines healthy aging in dogs – the old question of nature vs. nurture.
- It is true – that old rule of thumb that one human year equals seven dog years. But what’s puzzling is why large dogs age more quickly than small dogs. This is just the opposite of other species – think of the longevity of an elephant vs. a mouse. Dogs seem to do this in reverse. Why?
- Human docs have ways to test how fast a human person is aging i.e. grip strength, balance, or standing up – seems simple – but we don’t have these tests of aging for dogs. This study hopes to measure what’s in dog genes as well as living conditions like diet, exercise, air and water quality, and pack socializing. (BTW humans and dogs have about 75% common genes.)
- If you have a dog and want to enroll in the study, log on to dogagingproject.com. You can enroll in the long-term longitudinal study where they need 10,000 dogs to follow throughout their lives to determine why some dogs die early, killed by cancer, kidney failure, or dementia. And there is a drug, rapamycin, recently approved for testing by FDA. This drug is already used in humans at high doses to stop organ transplant rejection or fight cancer. And at low doses it slows aging in mice with few side effects.
So here’s calling all middle-aged dogs: big of small, from the city or living in the country, living in the lap of luxury or in not so wealthy digs. Check it out.