Photo: Mikhail Nilov (Pexels).

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is moving toward approving a drug that could extend the lifespan of large breed dogs, whose life expectancy is noticeably shorter than that of small breed dogs. This drug has been created by Loyal, a biotechnology company dedicated to developing treatments to improve and prolong the quality of life of dogs as they age.

A study by the American Kennel Club indicates that the life expectancy of large breed dogs is 8 to 12 years, while that of small breed dogs is 10 to 15 years, and some can even live up to 18 years. This significant difference, according to Loyal, is not inevitable, but is due to a "genetically associated disease caused by historical artificial selection," which can be treated with medication.

The drug, called LOY-001, has received approval from the FDA, which said it "has a reasonable expectation of effectiveness." This does not mean that the FDA has already tested its use and distribution, but rather that the data provided by Loyal demonstrates that "there is a reasonable expectation of efficacy" in large dogs.

The FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine reviewed Loyal's data, results, and scientific arguments and determined that they provide a reasonable expectation of the drug's effectiveness in extending the lifespan and health of canines. If Loyal successfully completes the Manufacturing and Safety sections, it will receive conditional approval for LOY-001, allowing them to market the drug to extend the lifespan of large dogs.

Loyal explains that selectively breeding large breed dogs causes dogs to have up to 28 times higher levels of the growth-promoting hormone IGF-1 than in small breed dogs. And this reduces their life expectancy considerably. The drug, therefore, works by reducing IGF-1 levels and, consequently, allows dogs to have a longer life expectancy without affecting their health.

Loyal says the drug still needs to undergo clinical trials. It also points out that it is a long-term drug. And that, therefore, it should be administered to large or giant breed dogs every three to six months. They also hope that the FDA will give the final go-ahead by 2026, at which point they will be able to start distributing it.

(With information from Hipertextual)