Webinar: The Dog Aging Project: collecting Big Data from small animals

  • 28 Nov 2023
  • 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
  • Zoom - please login & register for the link

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The Dog Aging Project: collecting Big Data from small animals

Dr. Audrey Ruple will discuss the ongoing work of the Dog Aging Project, the most ambitious dog health study ever undertaken in the United States. This longitudinal project involves data collected from multiple sources over the lifetime of enrolled dogs that is used to better understand healthy aging in dog populations.

The single greatest risk factor for nearly every major cause of mortality in humans in developed nations is age. We know from previous work in animal model systems that a diverse array of genetic and environmental factors influence aging through evolutionarily conserved pathways, but we do not yet understand how these factors explain age-related variation in natural populations. Studies in elderly humans, especially those that are particularly long-lived, reveal associations between some genetic and environmental factors but tell us little about the mechanisms that allowed those individuals to age well. In order to bridge this knowledge gap, we must better comprehend how an individual’s aging trajectory is shaped by both genetic and environmental factors.

Companion dogs are a good candidate model for exploring aging mechanisms in humans because they vary tremendously, not only in size, shape, and behavior, but also in how long they live and their causes of death. In addition, they share our environment, our disease burden, and we have a sophisticated health care system for companion dogs which we can utilize to discover not just when a dog dies, but also why it dies. Through utilization of this model system we can better understand what factors influence healthy aging in both dogs and humans and how to increase healthspan and lifespan in both species.

In this talk, Dr. Ruple will discuss the structure and preliminary results of the Dog Aging Project, a longitudinal study being conducted in owned dog population in the United States.

This work is funded by the National Institute of Aging and has already resulted in multiple publications. Importantly, this work has resulted in an open science platform where other researchers can interrogate data collected as part of this work.

About the AVI Webinar Series: The purpose of the AVI Webinar Series is to provide a vendor-agnostic forum for education and networking. Join us to learn from academic, industry, and government organizations who are using information technology and data science to improve the lives of animals and veterinary healthcare teams.

Contact Pam Okerholm, AVI Secretary with any questions at secretary@avinformatics.org 

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