Canine health: Vets back new drug that can prolong dogs' lives — But here's catch

The drug, LOY-001, is scheduled to be available to dog owners in 2026

By Web Desk
December 01, 2023
A group of dogs sitting on grass. — X/americankennelclub

Veterinarians and pet care experts are rallying to promote the development of LOY-001 a new medicine that might prolong your dog's life by up to a year — but there are five key hazards to consider.

Loyal Biotech reported this week that it has accomplished a significant milestone in its quest to develop a medicine that may be able to lengthen the life of a dog.

The San Francisco-based business stated that the FDA cleared a major element of their application to make the medicine accessible for purchase.

As of this week, the FDA agrees with the company's evidence on how successful the medicine is at prolonging a dog's life.

The medicine, known as LOY-001, is still being created as the business conducts experiments to see how long it may extend the life of a joyful puppy.

It is scheduled to be available to dog owners in 2026.

If it is authorised, it will be provided by injections, while the business is also developing a pill-form version called LOY-003.

They are also working on another option, LOY-002, that will be aimed exclusively for elderly dogs.

Dr Sara Ochoa, a veterinarian in Louisiana and co-founder of How To Pets, told the US Sun that the medicine might be a "real game-changer" for vets.

“Loyal's announcement of a potential 2026 conditional approval for LOY-001, enabling them to market the drug for canine life extension even before the completion of a large clinical trial, is groundbreaking,” Ochoa said.

“They are optimistic about adding at least one year to a healthy lifespan, which is not just heartening but could mark a significant advancement in veterinary medicine.”

Ochoa went on to say that she is cautiously enthusiastic about the current announcement because big studies to prove the drug's safety and efficacy are still needed.

She believes that if the medicine is shown to be safe and effective, it might become a "valuable tool" in enhancing the lives of man's best friend.

As LOY-001 development progresses, Ochoa warns of five major concerns to be aware of before it possibly enters the market:

Safety

“One of the primary concerns with any new drug is its safety,” Ochoa said.

“As a responsible veterinarian, I want to ensure that any treatment I recommend is not detrimental to my patients.”

She told The US Sun that one of her main concerns regarding the drug is potential interactions with other medications.

She deemed it "vital" to investigate any potential interactions because veterinarians frequently treat pets with various drugs.

“It will be crucial for Loyal to provide comprehensive information on possible drug interactions to ensure the safety and effectiveness of LOY-001 in real-life scenarios.”

Efficacy

Ochoa also cautioned that the drug's efficacy must be thoroughly investigated.

“What studies, if any, have been conducted to demonstrate LOY-001's ability to extend a dog's life?” the vet said.

Before providing the medicine, pet owners and veterinarians must be fully informed of these possible studies and their findings.

Long-term impact

The veterinarian also cautioned that knowing the medication's long-term consequences is critical when treating an animal.

“The lifespan of a dog can vary greatly depending on multiple factors, including genetics, environment, and overall comfort and care,” she said.

She also stated that more study is needed to see whether LOY-001 would have any effect on a dog's quality of life or cause any unexpected repercussions due to long-term usage.

Cost

“As a caring pet owner, it's crucial to consider the financial aspect of any treatment options,” Ochoa said.

“The availability and the cost of LOY-001 could play a significant role in whether it becomes a viable option for extending a dog's life.”

The veterinarian also cautioned that insurance companies may take some time to reimburse the cost of this sort of medicine.

While the prospective pricing of LOY-001 have not been made public, Loyal CEO Celine Halioua has stated that the medicine would be inexpensive.

Ethical considerations

Ochoa feels Loyal should be highly upfront about its research techniques, including how various studies were done and the suffering of any animals involved, as manufacturing proceeds.

Not only will this help answer questions about the research behind the drug, it can help alleviate any ethical concerns, she added.

“While the potential to extend a dog's life is undoubtedly exciting, we must always contemplate the ethical implications,” Ochoa continued.

“Will prolonging a dog's life through medication outweigh any associated risks or diminish their quality of life in any way?