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UW seeking 10,000 dog volunteers for lifelong health and aging study

Calling all dog owners: the University of Washington is launching a study on dog health.

They’re hoping to monitor 10,000 canines across the country for about 10 years, to see why some dogs live longer, healthier lives than others. Researchers want to track things like activity, general well-being, and genetics.

“The goal is to follow dogs for their entire lives — young, old, big, small, males, females, all dogs around the U.S. — to understand how the biology and the environment shape healthy aging in dogs,” said UW Professor of Pathology Daniel Promislow.

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The project is a joint operation between the University of Washington School of Medicine and the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. The dogs’ health will be followed for their entire lifetimes, and the mass amounts of data will be kept in an open platform that can be accessed and analyzed by scientists around the world. Nominating one’s own dog means providing comprehensive health and lifestyle information using questionnaires and medical records.

Aside from helping man’s best friend, researchers say this kind of study could help people. They say dogs have similar genetic makeup as humans, get sick from similar diseases, and live similar lifestyles.

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“By studying aging in pet dogs living in human environments, we can learn things that translate to human health as we age in a shorter period of time,” said Dr. Kate Creevy, Associate Professor of Veterinary Internal Medicine at Texas A&M. “It will also benefit companion dogs along the way which is extremely important to me as a veterinarian.”

Owners can nominate their dogs at www.dogagingproject.org, assuming their dogs are okay with it.

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