Nearly every dog owner laments the relatively short lives of their dogs. Who wouldn’t want to give the gift of several more years of healthy life to your canine companion?

Well, that may soon be possible by simply giving your dog a pill every day.

According to a new study that is being spearheaded by the Dog Aging Project, a drug called rapamycin may help to extend the lifespan of dogs. Rapamycin is not a new drug and is used in humans to prevent organ rejection in transplant recipients and also as a treatment for some forms of rare cancers. 

Past studies using rampmycin in yeast, fruit flies, nematode worms and mice have shown to increase the life span of these organisms. Plus, when the drug is used in mice, the additional years the mice enjoyed were healthier.

For this study, 500 middle aged dogs will be enrolled in a three year, placebo controlled, double blinded trial of rapamycin. The dogs will be carefully monitored at one of seven participating veterinary teaching schools, including Texas A&M University, Colorado State University, North Carolina State University, Iowa State University, Washington State University, Oregon State University and the University of Georgia.

After the medication trial, the dogs will continue to be monitored for an additional two years or until they die.

Hopefully, the data gleaned from this study will translate into healthier, happier dogs who live longer lives. We can’t think of any dog owner who would complain about that!

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