Recent Canine Aging Science Articles

If my posts have seemed few and far between lately, one of many reasons is I have been busily typing away producing some scientific publications in my new focus area- canine aging science. My collaborators and I have produced several recent papers which I hope will be of some interest to some of you. Since not all are readily available outside of academia, I will post them here. Enjoy!

McKenzie, BA. Chen, FL. Gruen, ME. Olby, NJ. Canine Geriatric Syndrome: A Framework for Advancing Research in Veterinary Geroscience . Front Vet Sci. 9:853743. April, 2022.

Biological aging is the single most important risk factor for disease, disability, and ultimately death in geriatric dogs. The effects of aging in companion dogs also impose significant financial and psychological burdens on their human caregivers. The underlying physiologic processes of canine aging may be occult, or early signs of aging may be ignored because of the misconception that biological aging is natural and therefore inevitable. The ability to detect, quantify, and mitigate the deleterious processes of canine aging would greatly enhance veterinary preventative medicine and animal welfare. In this paper we propose a new conceptual framework for aging in dogs, the Canine Geriatric Syndrome (CGS). CGS consists of the multiple, interrelated physical, functional, behavioral, and metabolic changes that characterize canine aging as well as the resulting clinical manifestations, including frailty, diminished quality of life, and age-associated disease. We also identify potential key components of a CGS assessment tool, a clinical instrument that would enable veterinarians to diagnose CGS and would facilitate the development and testing of interventions to prolong healthspan and lifespan in dogs by directly targeting the biological mechanisms of aging. There are many gaps in our knowledge of the mechanisms and phenotype of aging in dogs that must be bridged before a CGS assessment tool can be deployed. The conceptual framework of CGS should facilitate identifying these gaps and should stimulate research to better characterize the processes and effects of aging in dogs and to identify themost promising preventative strategies to target these.

McKenzie, BA. Comparative Veterinary Geroscience: Mechanism of molecular, cellular, and tissue aging in humans, laboratory animal models, and companion dogs and cats. Amer J Vet Res. 2022;83(6:). 

Aging is the single most important cause of disease, disability, and death in companion animal species. Contrary to the common view of aging as mysterious and inevitable, it is more usefully understood as a set of complex but comprehensible and modifiable biological processes that are highly conserved across species. The purpose of this Currents in One Health manuscript is to describe key mechanisms of aging at the cellular and molecular level and the manifestations of these in the tissues of the musculoskeletal system, adipose, and the brain. The characteristics of these processes as identified in common laboratory animal models and in humans will be described and compared with the much more limited information available concerning aging in dogs and cats. This will highlight important targets for future research in these species. The consistent patterns across species in the hallmarks of aging and their manifestations at the level of tissues, organ systems, and individual animals signify potential targets for interventions to mitigate the negative health impacts of aging and extend both life span and health span (the period of life free of significant disease or disability). Further research to elucidate aging mechanisms in companion dogs and cats will eventually support development, testing, and implementation of clinical therapies to prevent and ameliorate age-related dysfunction, disease, and death.

McKenzie, BA. Lacroix-Fralish, ML. Chen, F. The phenotype of aging in the dog: How aging impacts the health and wellbeing of dogs and their caregivers. J Amer Vet Med Assoc. 2022;260(9):963-970. 

Aging is the single most important cause of disease, disability, and death in adult dogs. Contrary to the common view of aging as a mysterious and inevitable natural event, it is more usefully understood as a set of complex but comprehensible biological processes that are highly conserved across species. Although the phenotypic expression of these processes is variable, there are consistent patterns both within and between species. The purpose of this feature is to describe the patterns currently recognized in the physical and behavioral manifestations of aging in the dog and how these impact the health and welfare of companion dogs and their human caregivers. Important gaps in our knowledge of the canine aging phenotype will be identified, and current research efforts to better characterize aging in the dog will be discussed. This will help set the context for future efforts to develop clinical assessments and treatments to mitigate the negative impact of aging on dogs and humans.

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6 Responses to Recent Canine Aging Science Articles

  1. Frances says:

    The second link is not working for me – is there a problem?

  2. skeptvet says:

    It works for me, but the paper is HUGE, so it takes a very long time to load the .pdf

  3. art malernee dvm says:

    >>>>Although dietary restriction has proven effective
    in combating the effects of aging in many species, it
    is not practical as a clinical intervention.<<<

    would be cost effective vs therapeutic intervention i bet. Was Pfizer's weight loss medication for dogs pulled off the market because of side effects or sales?

  4. Tom says:

    Thanks for this!

  5. Marge Wright says:

    As my dogs are aging I’m wondering which type of kibble I should buy. Both are neutered males with no health issues, ages 7 years and 10 years. One is a 42 lb. Border Collie from unregistered working stock, and the other, 28 lb., is a mix of half Border Collie and half a combination of smaller dogs.
    They engage in vigorous games of Frisbee and fetch several times a day and are free to run in an orchard all day, but need far fewer calories than working dogs. They spend a great deal of time stretched out snoozing.

    They both gain weight easily and I carefully measure their food. They get twice daily kibble and one VOHC-certified chew per day. For treats they get tiny chunks of cooked broccoli, raw carrots, apple, or blueberry. They always eat any food eagerly without complaint and have no skin issues or allergies. To maintain ideal weight the larger one needs about 875 calories a day, and the smaller one about 650 calories.

    My thinking is that as they age they need a moderately high protein, moderately high fat, and rather low carbohydrate level. Reducing the fat would reduce the calories but don’t they need moderately high fat for brain health?
    These are the formulas I’m considering. Five have chicken/rice/barley and three have lamb/rice. All are formulated to meet AAFCO standards for maintenance or all life stages, and all are made by large companies that have made dog kibble for decades. Four claim to be for watching or reducing weight and two claim to be for seniors.
    (1) 27pro/9fat;
    (2) 27pro/16fat;
    (3) 22pro/12fat;
    (4) 18pro/6fat;
    (5) 25pro/11fat;
    (6) 27pro/12fat;
    (7) 23pro/14fat;
    (8) 20pro/6fat

    Thanks for help with this.

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