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Could New Pet Food Extend Our Dogs Life?

13 November 2014

US - Researchers in the US hope to develop a pet food, which may be able to extend dogs lives by up to five years.

It is hoped their research may also have implications for human medicine, reducing the prevalence of age-related heart problems, cancer and other illnesses, reports MRCVS.

Led by Matt Kaeberlein and Daniel Promislow, researchers from the University of Washington (UW) are embarking on a five-year study titled the Dog Ageing Project.

In a two-part trial, low doses of the anti-rejection drug rapamycin, which is used in human medicine, will be added to the diets of middle age pet dogs (aged six to nine depending on breed).

Before, during and after the trials, researchers will monitor age-related factors such as heart function, immune function, activity levels, body weight and cognitive functions. The dogs will be tracked throughout their lives to determine the impact on lifespan and health.

Scientists believe the drug could increase healthy lifespan in dogs by two to five years or more, as well as improving cardiac and immune function and delaying, or reducing the risk of, cancer.

Similar studies in humans can take decades, but it is hoped that in less than 10 years, the UW team can uncover key factors that may help pets stay healthy for longer.

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