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A Lesson on Aging From Dogs

Researchers want to know if old dogs can teach them new tricks about aging and cancer.

That was the idea behind the Old Grey Muzzle Tour, a 23-day, nationwide expedition recently undertaken by David J. Waters, executive director of the Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation in West Lafayette, Ind., to study the oldest living pet rottweilers in the United States. The tour, which stopped in 16 towns and cities, focused on rottweilers at least 13 years old, equivalent to a 100-year-old human.

Waters, who is also a veterinarian, examined each of the animals, collected DNA samples and observed them in their home environments.

“These exceptional dogs have lived at least 30 percent longer than average for their breed,” said Waters in a statement. “They have dodged cancer and other life-threatening diseases of aging. We believe studying them can shed light on what it takes to live well.”

Blair S. Walker frequently writes for the Bulletin’s In the News section.

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