Is there a drug to make dogs live longer? Not yet. But one day there might be.
Recently I had a conversation with my friend who asked me if I was prepared for my dog’s death. Barnaby, my goldendoodle, just turned 10. He is in very good health, but my friend was referencing the shortness of a dog’s life. I told her that I was preparing…by writing my own obituary. Before you send folks in a van to “check on” me, I’m fine. It was a macabre joke between friends who know each other well, so she knows I was kidding. The sentiment was real though. Losing a dog, perhaps your only constant faithful companion who loves you no matter what, is beyond painful. I will be heartbroken when Barnaby goes. The grief will probably cause me to stop eating, stop talking and shy away from socializing for a while, because that is what grief does. I know that’s coming. Am I prepared for it? Nah. Who can be prepared for that? Plus, I’d rather soak in all the moments I can with my very vibrant old pup rather than prepare for when he is no longer around.
Then I asked myself: If there is a drug to make dogs live longer, would I give it to Barnaby? I’m not sure. The drug would have to be well tested with zero uncomfortable side effects. I would never uncomfortably prolong his life for my own comfort. But as a drug doesn’t exist yet, it’s probably not something I have to concern myself with during Barnaby’s lifetime. Researchers are working on it though.
In a recent episode of my Causes or Cures podcast, I chat with Dr. Brennen McKenzie, a veterinarian, epidemiologist and Director of Veterinary Medicine at Loyal, a clinical-stage veterinary medicine company developing drugs to prolong the lifespan and healthspan of dogs. They are working on a drug to make dogs live longer.
On the podcast, he discusses the aging process in dogs, age-related biomarkers, and the link between dog size (big vs small) and lifespan. He will explain what a dog’s “methylation age” is, how that relates to “epigenetics” and how that is similar to and differs from a dog’s chronological age. And don’t worry, he will explain what epigenetics means in the podcast in case you aren’t sure. He also talks about some of the studies Loyal is conducting and discusses some of the drugs they are developing to prolong a dog’s lifespan. (By the way, you may be able to enroll your dog in a study, right from home, if interested!) Finally, he’ll describe when he thinks we might see a “noticeable” difference in our best friends’ lifespan, since their lifespan has been increasing over time, just not in, like, a “huge” way.
You can listen to the episode “Is there a drug to make dogs live longer” here!
And don’t forget to check out some of the latest podcast guests who came on Causes or Cures. I am grateful for all of them and continue to enjoy podcast hosting. 🙂
Other podcast episodes to check out: