Calling All Canines: Companions Wanted For Canine Getting old Analysis, New Research

Kate Creevy, DAP’s Chief Veterinary Officer, with Poet and Sophie.

Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

There are nearly 90 million dogs in the United States.

When the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (CVMBS) and the University of Washington (UW) School of Medicine launched the Dog Aging Project (DAP) in November 2019 to find dog participants, the research team knew that Owners across the country would answer the call.

And they answered.

Nearly 30,000 dog owners have volunteered for this collaborative scientific research project dedicated to understanding the biological and environmental determinants of dog aging.

Now, more than a year later, the Dog Aging Project is looking for additional dog participants for these research and related study opportunities.

While all types of dogs are still welcome, DAP researchers are specifically looking for purebred and mixed dogs in the following categories:

Races

  • Large breed dogs weighing between 70 and 100 pounds, especially breeds other than Labradors, Retrievers, and German Shepherds (the most common breeds in the U.S.)
  • Giant breed dogs weighing more than 30 kg, such as Great Danes, wolfhounds, and mastiffs
  • Hounds, spaniels, pointers, terriers, bulldogs, and pit bulls, including mixes
  • Working dogs such as herding, K-9, duty, agility, and mushing dogs

Geographic regions

  • Dogs that live in rural areas, small towns, and large cities
  • Dogs living in areas of veterinary teaching hospitals collaborating with DAP in an upcoming clinical trial
  • Texas A & M.
  • University of Georgia
  • Iowa State
  • Colorado State
  • Oregon State
  • Washington
  • State of North Carolina

“Healthy aging is the result of both genetics and the environment. It is very important for us to examine dogs that live in all kinds of environments, from farm dogs to city dogs, ”said Dr. Daniel Promislow, DAP Principal Investigator and Co-Director and Professor of Pathology and Biology at UW. “Right now we are specifically recruiting dogs from areas where we don’t have as many participants as we’d like.”

Puppies

Since the DAP is a 10-year study, puppies are particularly beneficial to the project as enrolled puppies can participate for their entire life.

“A better understanding of the health implications of the presence and timing of neutering and neutering your dogs is of particular interest to the veterinary community,” said Dr. Kate Creevy, DAP Veterinary Director and CVMBS Associate Professor of Internal Veterinary Medicine. “When we follow puppies through neutering or neutering, or through reproductive activity, we learn a lot about how these events affect healthy aging.”

Studies

As the largest research data collection program of its kind, the DAP offers numerous opportunities to obtain important information about the lifespan of dogs, but also about the health of dogs, relating to the disease-free lifetime.

Because the nature of the project is collaborative, researchers collected by the DAP are available to researchers worldwide through Terra, a cloud-based computing platform located at the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.

The DAP research team consists of more than 40 experts from various fields and institutions who use the information submitted by DAP participants and stored in Terra to study many aspects of canine health and longevity. These study areas include:

  • genetics
  • microbiology
  • toxicology
  • Dog cognition
  • Age-related mobility
  • cardiology
  • A clinical drug study with rapamycin

“Aging is a complex phenomenon. By combining insights from many areas of veterinary research, the Dog Aging Project aims to advance the field of veterinary science and ultimately develop interventions that will help dogs live longer and healthier lives, “said Dr. Matt Kaeberlein, DAP co-director and UW professor of pathology.

Join the pack

To participate in the Dog Aging Project, owners can name one dog per household on the project website DogAgingProject.org. They are then asked to set up a personal research portal where they can answer scientific surveys about their dog and upload veterinary files.

As a member of the DAP package, participants are asked to complete an annual health survey of their dog, lasting two to three hours, and other, shorter surveys (estimated at 10 to 30 minutes each) throughout the year.

Once a dog is a member of the DAP package, the dog can be considered for a variety of other research activities, all of which are voluntary. This can be genetic analysis, taking biological samples or even participating in a clinical study.

“By summer 2021, we hope that 60,000 Pack members will be eligible for additional studies,” said Creevy. “These animals bring so much to our lives. Our entire team strives to extend the quality of life of dogs and their people into old age. “

About the DAP

The DAP is a 10-year, $ 23 million project funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“The Dog Aging Project was an innovative approach to understanding the aging process,” said Dr. Francesca Macchiarini, Head of the Department of Biological Resources in the NIA Department of Aging Biology. “This is because of the remarkable similarities between humans and their canine companions. They share the same environment, have similar lifestyles, and when it comes to aging, both types develop the same types of diseases.

“We’ll learn in a relatively short amount of time how we would study the human population, how biology, lifestyle, and the environment can affect healthy aging in dogs, and then apply that to humans,” Macchiarini said.

For more information or to nominate your dog, visit dogagingproject.org.