VCA Animal Hospitals and University of Washington Take On Aging in Dogs

Rapamycin may increase the life span of pets by delaying age-related

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–VCA Animal Hospitals, the nation’s largest animal hospital chain,
continues to support clinical research with their Clinical Studies
program. VCA’s most recent study – completed in April 2016 – was done in
collaboration with Dr. Matt Kaeberlein, a biology of aging researcher at
University of Washington, and involved testing the safety of a drug
called Rapamycin in dogs for the first time. Rapamycin has been shown to
delay disease onset in mice and has been previously approved for use in
human transplant patients.

The study was conducted at VCA Veterinary Specialty Center of Seattle by
a team led by Dr. Karen Kline, VCA medical director and Dr. Heidi
MacLean, cardiology specialist. Dr. Kline was in charge of performing
physical exams on all patients, blood draws and interpretations, and
communication with owners. Dr. MacLean performed echocardiograms on all
patients and was responsible for measurements and interpretation. Dogs
that were found to have any abnormalities in pre-study testing were
excluded from participation. The study was a tolerability and safety
study of the medication and used variable doses and placebo.

Dr. Kline found the findings of the study to be meaningful and
multilevel. “I found that the human-animal bond is so deep in dog owners
that they want to extend and help their companions live longer. It also
allowed us to validate early detection of cardiac and metabolic
abnormalities that in and of itself can extend lives.”

While Rapamycin is not currently approved for use in dogs, Dr. Kline
added: “This study is an essential building block to confirm safety
which will then allow a study of the prolongation of aging in a much
larger population of dogs. The implications are exciting for a range of
domestic animals if drug safety and minimal side effects can be proven.”

The VCA Clinical Studies program started three years ago and has
coordinated a large number of studies for various industry sponsors. The
program also performs non-sponsored studies with various VCA clinicians,
residents and interns for the advancement of research in clinical animal

Dr. Philip Bergman, VCA director of clinical studies said, “With more
than 600 hospitals nationally, of which about 10 percent are
ER/specialty hospitals, we have the ability to do these clinical trials
internally and externally in an efficient way. Our programs’ main goal
is to move veterinary medicine forward and this latest study is another
great example of how partnerships between private companies and
universities are doing that.”

About VCA

VCA (NASDAQ: WOOF) is a leading provider of pet health care services in
the country delivered through over 600 small animal veterinary hospitals
(VCA Animal Hospitals) in the US and Canada, a preeminent nationwide
clinical laboratory system that services all 50 states and Canada
(Antech Diagnostics), the leading animal diagnostic imaging company in
the market (Sound), and VetSTREET, a leading provider of veterinary
practice marketing solutions.

VCA hospitals are staffed by more than 3,000 fully qualified, dedicated
and compassionate veterinarians to give your pet the very best in
medical care. Over 400 of our doctors are board‐certified specialists
who are experts in areas such as Oncology, Cardiology, Emergency &
Critical Care, and Surgery for animals. VCA provides a full range of
general practice services to keep your pet well and specialized
treatments for when your pet is ill. For more information on VCA Animal
Hospitals, please visit
or follow us on Twitter @vcapethealth.


Agnes Huff Communications Group
Agnes Huff, PhD, 310-641-2525