In my home, everything is shared with our dogs. When eggs are made for breakfast, the dog’s eggs are served scrambled. When it’s time to exercise, we all head outside to play fetch or take daily walks. When it comes to naptime, I’m sharing my pillow with either a pint-size beagle or a full-size Labrador.
I love sharing with them, particularly, for what they share with me—a never-ending flow of unconditional love, attention, and sloppy doggy kisses right when I need them most. But until now, they never made me think about narcolepsy.
Now, it seems I should have been wondering what contributions that string of drooll could make to narcolepsy research. Because it may just turn our that the makeup of those slobbery doggy kisses could benefit all of us far beyond that feel-good, warm-and-fuzzy stuff.
Researchers have found that by analyzing the DNA of dog saliva, they are able to isolate mutations in the dog’s DNA to find genetic patterns and variations in the DNA of humans. A recent genetic study of narcolepsy in Doberman pinschers found the gene mutation that caused the disease. Ultimately, the research and development led to new treatment options for their human counterparts.
The dog DNA could also help provide answers to health questions including PTSD, OCD, autism spectrum disorders, narcolepsy, epilepsy, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. The hope is the study of additional DNA sequencing can help design new, safe, and more effective therapies. And all it takes is a little doggy drool.
Dog owners around the U.S. are jumping on the proverbial “bandwagon” to help lead the way for more medical discoveries. Darwin’s Dogs is the lead dog for this type of research. They had hoped for an initial 5,000 doggy “volunteers.” The test group now has more than 13, 000 and counting! For more information or to get involved, check out Darwin’s Dogs. There is no cost to participate, and any dog can join.