Dogs could live four years longer with new drug

A new drug could result in your dog’s lifespan increasing by four more years, research suggests, with a trial currently underway.

The lifespan of mice was improved with the rapamycin drug, when used in small quantities, and researchers are now trialling whether the lifespan altering drug works for dogs too.

Taking place at the University of Washington, the trial involves 32 middle-aged dogs, and lasts for three to six months. The research will regularly measure their activity, body weight, heart function, immune function and cognitive measure, looking to see the effects the drug has.

The dogs will then be tested to see if there have been substantial improvements to their lifespan and ageing process.

“If rapamycin has a similar effect in dogs – and it’s important to keep in mind we don’t know this yet – then a typical large dog could live two to three years longer, and a smaller dog might live four years longer,” said geneticist Daniel Promislow, who is involved in the trials.

“More important than the extra years, however, is the improvement in overall health during ageing that we expect rapamycin to provide.”

Writing on the Dog Aging Project website, the researchers said: “To be clear, our goal is to extend the period of life in which dogs are healthy, not prolong the already difficult older years. Imagine what you could do with an additional two to five years with your beloved pet in the prime of his or her life. This is within our reach today.”

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