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Single “dog year” not equal to seven “human years”, study reveals
The study found that a one-year-old dog is similar to a 30-year-old human.
One year old dog is similar to a 30-year-old human.

Researchers at the University of California (UC) have discovered that young dogs age rapidly compared to humans, debunking the idea that a single “dog year” is equivalent to seven “human years”.

The study, published in the journal Cell Systems, found that a one-year-old dog is similar to a 30-year-old human, a four-year-old dog is similar to a 52-year-old human, and that by seven years old, dog ageing slows.

“This makes sense when you think about it — after all, a nine-month-old dog can have puppies, so we already knew that the 1:7 ratio wasn’t an accurate measure of age,” explained senior author Trey Ideker, professor at UC San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center.

In the study, researchers created a new formula for comparing the ages of humans and dogs. The formula is based on 'epigenetic changes' to DNA – modifications that influence which genes are switched “on” or “off”.

The team looked at the changing patterns of methyl groups in dog and human DNA over time. Drawing on blood samples from 105 Labrador retrievers, their results reveal that humans and dog don't age at the same rate over their lifespans as the 1:7 years adage would suggest.

Researchers say the new formula, which is transferable across species, is more accurately able to compare the ages of humans and dogs. It could also provide a useful tool for veterinary surgeons and for evaluating anti-ageing interventions.

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Zoo calls for volunteers in its hour of need

News Story 1
 As ZSL London Zoo begins to get back on its feet, the organisation is putting out a call for volunteers who have time to help out. It comes after three months of unprecedented closure, which has seen zoos across the UK come under enormous financial pressure.

Volunteers will be required to commit to a minimum of half a day each fortnight, helping to assist zoo visitors as they make their way around. Volunteer manager Rhiannon Green said: "We need cheery, flexible people who can help visitors enjoy their day while respecting the measures that keep everyone safe.

For more information, visit zsl.org. Posts are available at both London and Whipsnade Zoos. 

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News Shorts
BSAVA webinars to shine the spotlight on selected journal papers

A free series of webinars that take a closer look at selected papers published in the Journal of Small Animal Practice has been produced by the BSAVA.

In the new BSAVA Science webinar series, authors of the featured papers discuss their results with a panel and how they may impact clinical practice. The authors then answer questions submitted by audience members.

The webinars are available via the BSAVA Webinar Library, covering four different papers. JSAP editor Nicola Di Girolamo, said: "Discussing the research with the authors - experts in their field - really helps to bring the papers to life."