Dr. Lynne Nelson with Wednesday, a six year old Corgi mix.
PULLMAN, Washington – Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine is seeking local and regional canine participants to be part of the Dog Aging Project, a five-year $ 23 million company to help better understand dog aging.
WSU, along with Texas A&M, the University of Georgia, Iowa State University, Colorado State University, Oregon State University, and North Carolina State University, is one of seven veterinary schools across the country participating in this study.
The study is funded by the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health. To participate in the Dog Aging Project, the owners nominate one dog (one per household) on the project website DogAgingProject.org.
“I am very excited to be working on an important topic with a multitude of colleagues across the country. When many clinical scientists come together on such a large study, progress is rapid, ”said Dr. O. Lynne Nelson, veterinary cardiologist at WSU College of Veterinary Medicine.
There are nearly 90 million dogs in the United States.
When the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the University of Washington School of Medicine launched the Dog Aging Project in November 2019, which sought out dog participants, the research team knew 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.
“The Dog Aging Project was an innovative approach to understanding the aging process. This is due to the notable 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 will learn much in a relatively shorter time than we would study the human population about how biology, lifestyle and the environment can affect healthy aging in dogs and then apply that to humans, “said Dr. Francesca Macchiarini, Head of the Department of Biological Resources at the National Institute of Aging Department of Aging Biology.
Now, more than a year later, the Dog Aging Project is looking for additional dog participants for this research.
All types of dogs are welcome, but project researchers are specifically looking for purebred and mixed dogs in the following categories:
- Large breed dogs weighing between 70 and 100 pounds, particularly breeds other than Labradors, Golden 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
- Hunting dogs, spaniels, pointers, terriers, bulldogs, and pit bulls (purebred and mixed breeds)
- Working dogs such as herding, K9, service, agility, mushing dogs, etc.
- Especially dogs that live in rural areas, small towns, and large cities
- Dogs that live in the region of the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
“Healthy aging is the result of both genetics and the environment,” said Dr. Daniel Promislow, project leader and co-director at the University of Washington.
“It is very important for us to examine dogs that live in all kinds of environments, from farm dogs to city dogs. Right now we’re specifically recruiting dogs from areas where we don’t have as many participants as we’d like – like this one! “
Since the Dog Aging Project is a long-term study, puppy participants are particularly advantageous for the project. The research team wants to follow dogs for a lifetime.
“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, veterinary project leader at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedicine at Texas A&M University. “When we follow puppies through neutering or neutering, or through reproductive activity, we learn a lot about how these events affect healthy aging.”
As the largest research data collection program of its kind, the Dog Aging Project offers numerous opportunities to obtain important information about the lifespan of dogs, but also about the health of dogs, which relates to the disease-free lifetime.
Because the nature of the project is collaborative, all of the data collected by the project will be available to researchers under the project through Terra, a cloud-based computing platform at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
The project research team consists of more than 40 experts from various fields and institutions who use the information submitted by participants and stored on Terra to study many aspects of canine health and longevity. The Dog Aging Project includes research in the following areas:
- Dog cognition
- Age-related mobility
- 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 geroscience and ultimately develop interventions that will help dogs live longer and healthier lives, “said Dr. Matt Kaeberlein, co-director of the project at the University of Washington.
Join the pack
To participate in the Dog Aging Project, the owners nominate one dog (one per household) on the project website DogAgingProject.org. They are then invited to set up a personal research portal where they can answer scientific surveys about their dog and upload veterinary records.
As a member of the Dog Aging Project Pack, participants are asked to complete an annual health survey of their dog, which takes 2-3 hours, and several other shorter surveys (each an estimated 10-30 minutes) spread over the year.
Once a dog is a member of the Dog Aging Project Pack, it may be eligible for a variety of other research activities (all voluntary) that may include genetic analysis, taking biological samples, or even participating in a clinical trial.
“By summer 2021, we hope that 60,000 Pack members will be eligible for additional studies. 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, ”said Dr. Kate Creevy, veterinary project leader at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedicine at Texas A&M University
The dog aging project is supported by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute for Aging Research (Grant 5U19AG057377-03).
For more information or to nominate your dog, visit dogagingproject.org.
Notes for media:
A media kit containing photos and video is available.
Pet owners have been identified in your state whose dogs are participating in the Dog Aging Project and ready to speak to the media.
- Washington State University (for interviews with Dr. O. Lynne Nelson) Marcia Gossard, 509-335-8242, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Texas A&M (for interviews with Dr. Creevy): Jennifer Gauntt, 979-862-4216, email@example.com
- University of Washington (for interviews with Dr. Promislow and Kaeberlein): Leila Gray, 206.475.9809, firstname.lastname@example.org