The Dog Aging Project, a national research effort to learn how to promote healthy longevity in dogs, is set to expand its participation across the country. They welcome owners of all types of dogs for registration.
They also look for specific ages, sizes, races, hometowns, and even occupations – hating, K9, service, musher – to round off their studies.
The project team estimates that nearly 90 million dogs live in the United States.
Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the University of Washington School of Medicine launched the Dog Aging Project (November 2019). The research team knew that property owners across the country would respond to the call for attendees to attend
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 effort is part of a five-year, $ 23 million project funded by the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health.
“The Dog Aging Project was an innovative approach to understanding the aging process,” said Dr. Francesca Macchiarini, Head of the Department of Biological Resources, Department of Aging Biology, National Institute on Aging. “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 relatively less time than we do would study it. The human population has a lot to do with how biology, lifestyle, and the environment can affect healthy dog aging, and this then needs to be applied to humans. ”
Now, more than a year later, the Dog Aging Project is looking for additional dog participants for this research.
All types of dogs are invited to participate, but the Dog Aging 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 near veterinary teaching hospitals and are project partners in an upcoming clinical trial
- Texas A & M.
- University of Georgia
- Iowa State University
- Colorado State University
- Oregon State University
- Washington State University
- North Carolina State University
Dr. Daniel Promislow, principal researcher and co-director of the Dog Aging Project, explains, “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. At the moment we are specifically recruiting dogs from areas where we don’t have as many participants as we’d like. ”
The veterinary heart specialist Dr. Sonay G. Gordon of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biology at Texas A&M University said, “I am excited and proud to have the opportunity to participate in this groundbreaking project. This project is a fundamental epidemiological study that will help answer many questions and, perhaps more importantly, will help shape future meaningful studies. All of these will contribute to better lives for dogs and their families. ”
Another veterinary cardiologist, Dr. Jessica Ward, of Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, said, “My particular involvement in the dog aging project is in the TRIAD trial, which is a trial of rapamycin in aging dogs. This is a subset of the overall project exploring the use of a drug (rapamycin) to actually slow down the aging process and extend healthy lives. As a cardiologist, I can take part in this exciting job by tracking cardiac results in dogs over a 5 year period, some of whom have received the drug and others placebos. These enrolled dogs will become part of our “family” at ISU Cardiology as we will visit them every 6 months for a significant period of their lives! “
The veterinary cardiologist Dr. O. Lynne Nelson of Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine said, “I am delighted to be working on an important topic with a large number of colleagues across the country. When many clinical scientists come together on such a large study, progress is rapid. “
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, the project’s chief veterinary officer. She is from 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,” she explained
As the largest research data collection program of its kind, the Dog Aging Project offers many opportunities to obtain important information about the lifespan of dogs, but also about the health of dogs, ie the disease-free lifetime.
Through this shared open access science, all of the data collected by the Dog Aging Project will be made available to researchers worldwide via Terra, a cloud-based computing platform at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
The Dog Aging Project’s research team consists of more than 40 experts from various fields and institutions who use the information submitted by participants and stored in Terra to study many aspects of dog health and longevity. The Dog Aging Project includes research in the following areas:
- Dog cognition
- Age-related mobility
- A clinical drug study with rapamycin
Portrait of Dobby, Matt Kaeberlein’s dog
“Aging is a complex phenomenon,” said Dr. Matt Kaeberlein, co-director of the Dog Aging Project and professor of pathology at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “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.”
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 files.
As a member of the Dog Aging Project Pack, participants are asked to complete an annual dog health survey that lasts 2 to 3 hours, as well as several other shorter surveys (each an estimated 10 to 30 minutes) spread over the year.
A dog who is a member of the Dog Aging Project Pack may be eligible for a variety of other research activities (all voluntary) that may include genetic analysis, taking biological samples, or participating in a clinical trial.
“By summer 2021,” said Creevy, “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. ”
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.