Dr. Natasha Olby’s Pet Vitality Research Aims to Extend Pet Lives

Now unleashing… innovative NC State trials aim to extend pets’ vitality

Who doesn’t want their furry friends to stay young, energetic and by their side for as long as possible? Hold onto your leashes… Dr. Natasha Olby of NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine is on a mission to do just that via her groundbreaking research focused on slowing down the aging clock for our beloved four-legged companions

“We are trying to identify safe, effective ways to improve quality of life and health spans of pets through carefully documenting the aging process and running placebo controlled clinical trials,” explains Olby.

The inaugural clinical trial revolves around a captivating concept: Can cellular energy be enhanced by administering NAD boosters and removing senescent cells? In other words, this approach aims to slow down your pet’s decline in mobility and cognitive focus while possibly improving their overall health to boot. To test this theory, Olby is employing a placebo-controlled approach with a diverse group of participating pups.

In a second phase, the innovative vet is gearing up for another trial tailored to addressing the unique requirements of frail dogs. This trial centers on custom-designed rehabilitation exercises meticulously crafted to restore strength, improve mobility and enhance quality of life. The ambitious endeavor requires the recruitment of 60 dogs and a 12-week journey consisting of weekly visits to the veterinary school.

“I think we should all be interested in aging—because we all hope to age and to age well,” says Olby. “If we can understand the [aging] process, we can understand how to prevent and treat it.” Translation: This research could also benefit people down the road (!).

“The aging process is very similar in dogs and humans,” she adds—“not only the molecular events happening at the level of the cell, but also the clinical signs and conditions that emerge and the changing role in their social group.”

While she’s not promising eternal puppyhood, Olby’s work might just help our pets trade in a few gray hairs for a few more playful barks and purrs—and who wouldn’t want that? A round of a-paws, indeed!

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Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.