Hope for dog owners after invention of new pill could extend their lives by a third

The Dog House: Dogs watch as owner leaves them to be rehomed

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Researchers in the US believe a drug called rapamycin could elongate the average lifespan of canines by as much as a third. Previous experiments in smaller animals such as mice have found rapamycin can extend maximum lifespan by anything between nine and 30 percent. A recent trial at the University of Washington will try rapamycin on dogs to see if it has similar results.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph Matt Kaeberlein, a professor of pathology, said: “We don’t know if those effects will be similar in absolute or relative magnitude in dogs.

“But I think it’s possible.

“Our study is powered to be able to detect lifespan extension nine percent or greater.”

Professor Daniel Promislow spoke to the Daily Telegraph and said the study is focusing on large breed dogs.

They are considering middle-aged dogs for the study.

The researchers aim to recruit 500 pets.

Dog owners that want their Eligible dogs will be of similar size to a labrador and aged seven to 10 years.

He said: “These dogs might have a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years.

“If it’s successful, I would say that a life extension of one to two years for a dog of that size would be really meaningful for both the dog and the owner.”

The longevity effects of rapamycin may also translate to humans.

Professor Promislow spoke to the Daily Express and said: “Dogs age just like we do.

“They experience many of the same age-related diseases.

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“They have a sophisticated healthcare system, just like we do.

“The healthcare system has general practitioners, clinics and specialists.

“But one of the specialities that doesn’t exist in veterinary medicine is geriatrics.

“There isn’t a science of gerontology for dogs and we want to create that body of knowledge.”

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