New Research Projects Are Focusing On The Health And Wellness Of Senior Dogs.

Published on 2022-12-21
New Research Projects Are Focusing On The Health And Wellness Of Senior Dogs.

Morris Animal Foundation issued funding to support four projects exploring age-related diseases in canines.

Morris Animal Foundation funding will be used to investigate age-related inflammation, the potential impact of exercise on frailty, and the effect of heavy metal exposure on cognition in senior dogs.

The organization has bestowed its Mark L. Morris Jr. Investigator Award to four researchers, all of whom will focus their projects on issues related to the well-being of senior canine populations to advance the life and health span of older and aging canines.

The selection of four proposals differs from previous awards, which were given to a single person.

"We're inspired by the number of high-quality proposals we received for this call and thrilled we can award four grants," said Kathy Tietje, Morris Animal Foundation's vice president of scientific operations.

The following will receive the funding:

  • The University of Wisconsin-Freya Madison's Mowat, BVSc, PhD, DECVO, DACVO, will evaluate how toxic heavy metal burden affects cognitive and sensory decline in older dogs.
  • Anne Avery, VMD, PhD of Colorado State University (CSU) will investigate age-related inflammation and its links to disease in aging dogs.
  • Vaika Inc.'s Andrei Gudkov, PhD, DSci, will be investigating the genetically programmed aging "clocks" and anti-aging strategies in retired sled dogs.
  • Natasha Olby, VetMB PhD, DACVIM (neurology), of North Carolina State University's (NC State), will conduct a clinical trial to see if exercise can improve frailty and health span in elderly dogs.

Dr. Tietje explained that diverse projects will help explore several factors surrounding the aging dogs.

"The diversity of projects allows us to address key health problems affecting aging dogs from several different angles," said Dr. Tietje, PhD, MBA. 

"In total, results can help improve not just the lifespan but the health span of older dogs," continues Dr. Tietje.

The projects are expected to start in 2023 and finish in two to three years. 

The Mark L. Morris Jr. Investigator Award, established in 2016, is intended to support impactful companion animal research with the potential for rapid and meaningful progress. A survey of research scholars and veterinary professionals revealed the need for research on the health and well-being of aging dogs, which led to the selection of this cycle's focus area.