The main drawback to adding a canine companion to your family is the fact that their lifespan isn't as long as other pets. Fortunately, a team of researchers may have a solution.
Researchers at the University of Washington have begun a new study titled the Dog Aging Project, dedicated to increasing the lifespan of the average dog. In this nationwide study, researchers are investigating the effects on aging with a medication called rapamycin.
Rapamycin is traditionally used in humans to help fight organ transplant rejection, but previous studies have shown it can increase the lifespan of lab mice when given in small doses.
Researchers are now looking into the drugs effects on a clinical trial group of 30 middle-aged dogs. Each of these dogs were given a low dose of rapamycin three times a day for 10 weeks, and owners said they saw positive changes in their dogs' activity levels.
"I definitely saw a change in my dog, and that thrills me," said Rose Bigham, one of the participants in the study.
"That's my dog in his prime again."
Before the researchers can go and make all dog owners' dreams come true, they need to secure a large federal grant. If secured, they believe that within five years their team will have come up with a way to increase a dog's lifespan between two and five years.
Can you imagine being given the opportunity to spend even one extra year with your pup, let alone four? That would be a dream come true!