December 15, 2016

Exploring Mechanisms of Sex Differences in Longevity

Lifetime Ovary Exposure and Exceptional Longevity in Dogs

A group of scientists wrote this article in Volume 8 of Aging Cell. These researchers studied pet dogs to analyze if lifelong ovary exposure has a correlation to an animal’s longevity. In other words, the study examined if there is a direct relationship between a longer-than-normal lifespan and continuously intact ovaries in a female dog. To do this, the scientists collected the medical histories for Rottweilers that lived over roughly 13 years – about 30% more than their breed’s average life length. They used a large pool of dogs that lived in 29 states across Canada, including those that had been diagnosed with both cancer and non-cancer diseases. They compared these Rottweilers, of who had a lifetime of intact ovaries, with a group of Rottweilers that lived the breed’s average age (between eight and 11 years old). Specific statistics for this study are specified in tables in the article, published originally by the Aging Cell, and now accessible through Wiley’s Online Library.

In this study, although females are known to outlive males, the researchers found that the removal of a Rottweiler’s ovaries during their  first four years of living eliminated the probability of such elongated life span specified above. After considering most other factors, including body weight, heritage, and height, the study concluded that there is a strong correlation between the two items discussed. However, that being said, ovary exposure does not reveal an ability to combat certain diseases better than spayed dogs. The scientists arrived at this claim after concluding from their medical history data that a Rottweiler with intact ovaries for their entire lifetime was not more (or less) likely to develop any form of cancerous or non-cancerous disease, nor were they more likely to overcome it in a quicker manner. 

Walters, David J. "Exploring Mechanisms of Sex Differences in Longevity: Lifetime Ovary Exposure and Exceptional Longevity in Dogs." Waters - 2009 - Aging Cell. Wiley Online Library, 2 Sept. 2009. Web. 25 Nov. 2016.

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                                                                                                                    Reviewed by: Roxy Ackerman