Veterinary Speciality: Cardiology
Rapamycin, a medication that affects both the immune system and metabolism, has been shown to increase the lifespan of mice. The primary purpose of this project is to determine whether rapamycin increases the lifespan of companion dogs. A secondary purpose is to determine whether rapamycin improves various measures of health in aging dogs. Some animals will receive a placebo (an inactive pill). For these animals, information collected will be evaluated to improve our understanding of the normal aging process of companion dogs.
Included dogs will be apparently healthy, cooperative for examination, including blood collection and echocardiography without sedation, and will have normal diagnostic clinical pathology test results. Dogs must be at least 7 years old and weigh at least 44 pounds.
Dogs will be excluded if they are known to have or are found through the course of baseline testing to have, systemic diseases such as diabetes mellitus, hyperadrenocorticism, hypothyroidism, renal disease, liver disease, GI disease, respiratory disease, neurologic disease, heartworm disease, clinically significant heart disease, any malignant neoplasm, systemic infection, or systemic hypertension.
Costs of all scheduled examinations at the veterinary clinical sites, including physical exams, blood and urine collection and testing, echocardiography, ECG, and blood pressure testing as well as the study medication (rapamycin or placebo) will be covered by the study. Activity monitoring devices will be provided free-of-charge to each participant.
Each enrolled dog will participate in the trial for three years, and then will be monitored by the
study team for an additional two years. This will include the initial visit to the Foster Hospital and
then recheck visits at 6, 12, 18, 24, 30 and 36 months. Two more monitoring visits at 48 and 60
months will take place at the primary veterinarian’s office. Between visits, owners will be asked
to complete periodic surveys about their dogs.
Prior to enrollment, owners will complete a comprehensive survey about their dogs’ at-home
care, environment, and health. Owners will be given access to an online portal through which
they will share information about their dogs. Medical records will be uploaded through this portal
by the owner directly, or through a digital platform that may be used by the owner’s primary care
veterinarian. Prior to an initial, screening examination, owners will provide updated medical
records and a medical history. Upon selection for an initial, screening examination, a cheek
swab will be mailed directly to owners for use at home. Owners will use the swab to collect a
DNA sample from their dogs following instructions that we will provide.
At the initial, screening examination, dogs will receive a physical examination including blood
pressure measurement using a cuff. Feces, urine and blood and hair samples will be collected.
An echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) will be performed with a simultaneous ECG. Dogs will be awake and gently restrained for the performance of these tests.
Upon completion of baseline testing to ensure eligibility, dogs will be randomly assigned to receive either rapamycin by mouth once weekly on Wednesday or an identical-looking placebo on the same schedule for one year. Neither the study veterinarians, nor you as the owner, will
know which group your dog is in until the end of the study. Please realize this means that there is a 50% chance that your dog will receive placebo and not rapamycin.
An activity monitoring device that attaches to a collar will be provided to monitor the dog’s activity level at home. Owners will be provided with instructions for charging the device and setting it up to transmit data wirelessly
For questions regarding the clinical trial please email the clinical trials technician, Diane Welsh at: email@example.com
If you believe that your pet may be eligible for this study, please complete our prescreening questionnaire for owners.