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New Drug Might Increase Dog Life Span

Help dog live longer

If your dog could live as long as you do, is this something you’d want to happen? Dog moms and dog dads, if you are like me, the answer is a resounding “YES!” What if a new drug hit the market that might increase the dog life span as we know it?

Why dogs can’t live as long as we do remains a question that dog parents, at some point, ask themselves. I know the devastating loss all too well of the passing of a dog.

A 3-year study is underway at the University of Washington to determine if the life span of a dog might be extended by two years. The drug being tested, rapamycin, is used to treat human kidney transplant patients. The hope is that if a large dog’s life span might be increased by 2 years, perhaps a smaller dog could live 4 years longer.

The project is dubbed The Dog Aging Project and several dozen pet dogs including German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers are being given the drug. Only time will tell the results.

New drug may help dogs live longer

How to Increase Your Dog’s Life Span

As we wait for the results of the Dog Aging Project, there are things you can do to increase the life span of your dog. We all know a healthy weight and quality diet with proper exercise of the physical and mental varieties are important in dogs and humans.

If Dr. Jean Dodds has her way, the way we administer the rabies vaccination and its frequency will have serious implications in the life span of dogs as we know it.

In the United States, dogs are legally required to be vaccinated against rabies every three years. In cringe every time that 3-year mark comes around because I am a dog mom who believes we are over-vaccinating our dogs. Once your dog has a cancerous growth at the site of vaccine injection, the way one views vaccines changes. With my dog at his 3-year interval, I am feeling the familiar twinge of disdain at the rabies vaccine.

In a report filed by Dogs Naturally magazine, the duration of immunity of rabies vaccination has been shown through the work of Ronald D Schultz PhD to be at least seven years (by serology), the laws assume that animals are not protected once the three year period (or one year in the case of one year rabies vaccinations) has expired.

A study by Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (KSVDL) offers hope for pet parents. As a result, W Jean Dodds DVM, in her role as Chair of the Communications Committee of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, issued a statement and press release supporting KSVDL’s efforts to improve rabies testing.

By lessening the frequency of invasive injections required by law and learning the results of the KSVDL study along with Dr. Jean Dodds’ Rabies Challenge, dogs not only live healthier, but perhaps longer. We are watching this study and its affect on the administration of rabies vaccines with bated breath.

Photo courtesy Dr. Laurie Coger.

Does a Rabies Vaccine Have Potential to Harm?

We trust that when our dogs are vaccinated against rabies, we put our faith and trust in modern medicine, believe the vaccine is “safe” and that what we are doing is in the best interest of our beloved dogs. Roxanne Hawn thought this, too.

Hawn is a blogger of the Champion of My Heart dog blog. Her dog, Lily, suffered an adverse reaction to rabies vaccine. Hawn educates pet parents about what she learned and how to help your dog against adverse vaccine reactions.

Dog news

Know the Facts vs Fictions

When it comes to raising a dog and living life with one or more, a dedicated dog parent, like yourself, will read countless things online and in books, magazines, and in conversations with friends.

There are many facts and many falsehoods when it comes to raising a dog and keeping him or her healthy.

We are honored to have been included in “11 Pet Experts Reveal Facts vs Fiction About Pets.”

The most important thing is that we do the best that we can. And when we know better, we do better.

In what ways are you helping to keep your dog living longer (and healthier)? Would you be willing to try the “life span extender” drug on your dog if studies prove it works?


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  1. I would like to be first in line for the vaccine if it really works. We are so thankful our vet isn’t one to push vaccinations on us. She always prefers to only give what is absolutely necessary and we are so thankful for that. Exciting news here today for sure!

  2. If this medication could extend Bentley’s life even one year, I’d use it provided there were no adverse reactions. I am also a believer that we are over-vaccinating our dogs and although we live in a state that requires an annual rabies vaccination, I only let my boys get one every two – three years I refused the other ones that are routinely given. I also think that a great diet is key.

  3. The drug might or might not extend dogs’ live span. The prospect is very exciting. Of course, it’s important we,don’t shorten their lives first. Then even the best drug might not get them to expected average.

  4. My sweet boy Max is my best friend. I would love to see this new drug work, and make a noticeable impact on life expectancy. He’s only 2 years old, and I would love to see him live until he’s 20!

  5. Hi Carol,

    Thank you very much for your well-researched and well-presented article. You make some really good points here. To answer the basic question, I would love to have a drug that would increase the life of my dog – however, only if their quality of life did not substantially decrease. Otherwise, it’d just be selfish on my part. Only time will tell what the results of this study will be. I eagerly await the results.

  6. I have had many dogs in my life and it is devastating when they have to go. But as exciting as this sounds – I have never really lost a dog to old age. It has always been cancer, kidney failure, addisons disease, autoimmune disorders and more. I need cures for those… I have a 5 year old english mastiff right now that has been dreadfully sick since she was 6 months old. We are beginning to lose the battle. We start to gain some ground on one disease then she suffers from another.

    1. I totally understand and can relate. I am sorry about all the problems of your OEM. My prayers and hugs are with you.

  7. I agree with Dan. Quality over quantity trumps all. We had the most amazing cat named Jinx (who though he was a dog) and even though he has been gone for a number of years I wouldn’t have wished years of ill health and suffering on the little guy. When it’s their time it’s their time.

  8. I never thought about an adverse reaction from the dogs to the shot. What a tough call for some that it would be to vaccinate or not!

  9. This is very interesting. I have never questioned our vaccination schedule as we have not had an adverse reaction or heard of any. I will now look a little closer and ask more questions. I certainly want my sweet dachshund “Beanie” to love as long as she can,

  10. I’m going to ask my sister about this because she just lost one of her dogs, and I wonder how she’ll feel about this kind of option if it were available.

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