Rapamycin for Dogs –Benefits and Risks
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Rapamycin for Dogs — Benefits and Risks
Rapamycin has received a lot of publicity over the last couple of years because of its longevity benefits in every mammalian species studied to date.
However, every drug known to man has potential side effects.
Let’s take a deeper dive into rapamycin for dogs– benefits and risks.
I was so worried about my almost 11 year old St Bernard when she began having trouble getting up from laying down, going up stairs and showing overall decrease in energy. Rapamycin has totally aged her backwards. She’s not a puppy again, but she’s able to move easier and excited for walks and frolics in the snow. I’ve been telling everyone about rapamycin
Rapamycin for Dogs — The Benefits
Like many drugs used in veterinary medicine, many of rapamycin’s benefits have been extrapolated from studies in humans or other mammals.
These studies show that….
- Rapamycin improves longevity
- Rapamycin decreases pain
- Rapamycin fights cancer
- Rapamycin stimulates immune function
- Rapamycin improves heart function
Amongst veterinarians, the recent study of Dr. Matt Kaeberlein at the University of Washington created quite a stir when his group did a DOG study on rapamycin and confirmed….
- Rapamycin improved cardiac function in dogs with heart disease,
- Dogs on rapamycin were more affectionate, which the group attributed to less discomfort
- and most importantly… they found NO adverse side effects during the study duration.
Rapamycin for Dogs — The Risks
When we consider whether to use a drug or supplement on our dog, there is NOTHING more important than its risk profile. So what are the risks of rapamycin for dogs?
When given at high doses in humans, the most common adverse effects of rapamycin in humans include…
- GI disturbance — vomiting, anorexia, diarrhea
- elevation in blood glucose
- skin disease — rashes, acne
However, these side effects are logically most common at the high doses of rapamycin needed for immune suppression or cancer therapy in humans.
Now let’s talk specifically about our dogs, where we are generally using much lower and less frequent dosing.
In the Kaeberlein study mentioned above, the incidence of adverse side effects for dogs on rapamycin was…. ZERO.
To date in over 500 dog patients under our care, adverse side effects for dogs on rapamycin have been VERY rare. We have had 7 (seven) patients to date whose parents stopped rapamycin due to GI issues, and one because of apparent anxiety. All resolved once off rapamycin.
Rapamycin Dosing for Dogs
Based upon the original Kaeberlein study, we are currently recommending rapamycin for dogs at a dosage of 0.1 mg per kg given 3x weekly with food.
This translates into 1 mg of rapamycin for every 22# body weight, given 3x weekly with food.
For longevity benefits of rapamycin in dogs, we recommend one month on/one month off rapamycin therapy. For patients facing cancer or other chronic disease, we are currently recommending continual therapy.
Dr. Kaeberlein is in the midst of a much more ambitious study called the Dog Aging Project. In this study they are using rapamycin at a dosage of 0.15 mg per kg body weight given ONCE weekly. This translates into 1.5 mg of rapamycin per 22# body weight, again given once weekly.
Need help figuring out your dog’s dosage? Let’s get together and solve it.
Rapamycin for Dogs — Questions Not Yet Answered
There are three questions about rapamycin for dogs that remain unanswered… for now.
- Although rapamycin appears very safe for dogs, are there long term side effects we are unaware of?
- What is the optimal duration of therapy — a month, a year, or for the duration?
- What is the optimal dose of rapamycin for dogs, or is more simply better?
Smarter folks than me are working on those questions, even as you read this.