The dog fountain of youth | NevadaAppeal.com

The dog fountain of youth

Haven't we all hoped that the fountain of youth would be found or, better yet, be invented? For dogs —it may be on the way. Biogerontologists Matt Kaeberlein and Daniel Promislow at the University of Washington have given local pet owners the chance to have their dogs test an experimental anti-aging drug.

The drug, rapamycin, wasn't intended for canine longevity, but it is often used as an immunosuppressant, a drug typically prescribed to people who have had an organ transplant. Several years ago, scientists discovered that rapamycin actually extended the life of mice. Rapamycin blocks a gene called mTOR, which causes cells to age and break down more rapidly.

The problem with widespread development of the drug comes from the fact that it is off-patent, which means there is no big money to be made in developing the drug. Enter the trials on canine subjects. Who hasn't wanted to have a healthy dog live longer? An extra few years mean the world for a dog who is seven or eight years old. Imagine your dog being vital from the age of seven years to 14 or 15.

Unfortunately, the dog trials have been closed, but what's really at stake is nothing less than a revolution in drug testing. Kaeberlein and Promislow have unleashed a practical way to research new human uses for off-patent drugs.

Pets can provide a cheap alternative to pricey and chancy human clinical tests, which is key when dealing with a drug that might not be especially profitable in the first place. So, is the fountain of youth in the future for our canine friends? We can only hope that our best friends can share a few more years with us; I'm looking forward to growing older with Watson. I'll keep you informed of the outcome of the scientific study.

WHO'S WHO AT CAPS?

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A huge hug goes out to the local 4H chapter. On March 28, they spent the entire day filling holes, weeding and burning trash. It is such a testament to young people who gave up their Saturday to give to our community. These young men and women spent their free time helping our helpless animals. They should be commended for their dedication and commitment. A huge thank you goes out to our Fallon 4H club. You rock!

WHO'S NEW AT THE CAPS ZOO?

This week's pet personality is Lizzy. A very rare combination, Lizzy is a domestic longhair orange tabby. She is an absolute love! She recently gave birth to five kitties. If you are looking for an adorable cat with rare characteristics, Lizzy is your girl. She will be ready to enjoy life with you as soon as her kittens are weaned. CAPS' policy, however, prohibits adopting out puppies or kittens under the age of six months to a home with children under five years of age. This is to protect both the children and the animal.

CAPS NEWS AND EVENTS

CAPS will be at Walmart on April 18 with our Kissin' Booth and Ki. Get into the spring swing and join Ki's fan club. CAPS also has new designs of hoodies, shirts and other items for you or your honey.

Flower Tree Nursery is raffling a 15-gallon Prairie-Fire crabapple tree. The raffle tickets are available at Flower Tree, and they are $1 for one ticket and $5 for six tickets. Be sure to get your tickets soon. The drawing date will be announced later, and the winner doesn't have to be present to win.

Be sure to mark Saturday, May 9, on your calendars for our annual Bark in the Park 5K walk/run, which will be held in honor of David Martinez. The first 100 to cross the finish line will receive a medal. Bark in the Park will be at the fairgrounds. Complete details are available on the CAPS website.

CAPS' mailing address is P.O. Box 5128, Fallon, NV 89406. CAPS' phone number is 775-423-7500. Please visit the CAPS website (www.capsnv.org) and Facebook page (Churchill Animal Protection Society). Be sure to "Like" CAPS on Facebook because we are really likable.

Do you have questions, comments or a great story? Contact me jkwmil@outlook.com.

Kathleen Williams-Miller, a CAPS volunteer, contributed this week's column.

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