Study to assess healthy aging in dogs: the Dog Aging Project and Test of Rapamycin in Aging Dogs (TRIAD study)

Dog Aging Project: Test of Rapamycin in Aging Dogs (TRIAD study)

Mandy Coleman, DVM, DACVIM (Cardiology faculty)

If interested, please have your primary veterinarian request additional information by contacting the Clinical Trials Coordinator, Lisa Reno, at 706-296-7818 or [email protected].

Study description:
The Dog Aging Project is a multi-center study funded by the National Institute on Aging, dedicated to understanding the biological and environmental determinants of caning aging. To participate in the Dog Aging Project, owners nominate a dog (one per household) at the project website Owners will answer a comprehensive survey about their dog’s health and provide medical records for review.

A subset of dogs will be invited for screening for the TRIAD study at the UGA Veterinary Teaching Hospital. The drug rapamycin is FDA approved for use in humans as an immunosuppressant to combat organ transplant rejection, and for treatment of some types of cancer. In a recent 6-month study of dogs receiving low-dose rapamycin (such as will be used in this study) no significant side effects were found.

To be considered for screening, dogs must be at least 7 years of age, weight at least 44 pounds, be spayed or neutered, and receive regular heartworm preventative. In addition, dogs may not have any other systemic illnesses.

The initial screening visit will include a history, physical examination, CBC,
chemistry profile, urinalysis, fecal analysis, heartworm test, total thyroxine level, blood pressure measurement, and echocardiogram with ECG. Dogs accepted for enrollment in the study will be randomized to receive placebo or rapamycin by mouth once weekly, for 1 year. Every 6 months for 3 years, dogs will return to UGA for a recheck; at each visit, history, physical examination, blood pressure, blood and urine sampling, echocardiography and ECG will be performed. After that, participants will have rechecks with their local veterinarian once per year for 2 years of study follow-up.

In addition, owners must be willing to continue recommended vaccinations and keep their dog on regular heartworm prevention through the entirety of the study. Owners must administer study medications as directed, and will keep a medication journal for documenting doses given, to report any problems with study medication, and to report any event that is adverse for their dog at any time.

All costs pertaining to study screening and rechecks including examination fees, blood pressure measurements, required labwork and sample analysis, ECG, echocardiogram, and medication costs are paid for by the study. The study will not cover the costs of veterinary care for conditions unrelated to the study.

Duration of study:
Enrollment is ongoing.

Potential benefits to veterinary medicine:
The goal of the study is to determine whether rapamycin increases the life span and improves various measures of health in aging dogs, both purebred and mixed breed. Dogs and humans share the same environment, have similar lifestyles, and develop the same types of diseases. This study will provide valuable insight as to how biology, environment and lifestyle can affect aging in dogs, which could also be applicable to humans.

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