Words by Smiley Team
Dogs are like an extra family member – losing one can be a painful experience for everyone.
That's why it's great news that scientists are developing a drug that would extend the life of dogs' years beyond their current typical lifespan.
Researchers at the University of Washington are studying the drug rapamycin and have proven the drug slows the ageing process, after successful testing on rats, mice, and dogs.
“You can take an old heart or an old immune system, treat a mouse with rapamycin for eight weeks, and see that function improve," says Dr. Matt Kaeberlein of the Dog Aging Project. "I know it sounds a little bit like science fiction, but when you actually look at the data, it's quite remarkable."
The testing is being done on a further 600 dogs to test the effects across different breeds. There is hope that the study could have implications down the line for human lifespan as well, as dogs age similarly to humans.
The drug has already been used for humans who are receiving organ transplants to stop the transplant being rejected.
“It hasn't been tested in the context of lower doses in otherwise healthy people," says Dr. Kaeberlein. "There really are very, very little in the way of side effects, and potentially pretty significant benefits for age-related functional declines and diseases."
Dog owners across the US are submitting their dogs to the next stage of the study, which will see some dogs receive the drug and others a placebo.
The end goal will hopefully see dogs across the world get extended time with the families that love them.
DONATE: Help the RSPCA to protect and rescue animals, including dogs, from neglect and get them back to health by donating.
ADOPT: If you have room in your house and your life, Dogs Trust always have canine friends looking for their forever home. Find out more.