Pet dogs and cats may be better models for Alzheimer’s research than the animals currently used, according to a new article.
Researchers at Auburn University, Alabama, USA, and the University of Bath, UK, compared traditional animal models used for Alzheimer’s research (mice, rats and monkeys) with the biological and behavioural changes seen in dogs and cats as they age.
The piece in Communications Biology, highlighted the shared characteristics of humans and dogs and cats, and concluded that companion animals are well-suited for studying ageing and, in turn, Alzheimer’s and other age-related diseases, particularly as they also live in the same environment as humans.
The researchers cited the monitoring of cats and dogs over their lifetimes (see the Dog Aging Project), as well as by testing treatments in clinical trials.
They wrote: “These observations prompt the need for increased communication across human and veterinary medicine. These synergies may resolve challenges in the study of aging and other long-standing biomedical issues.”