The original dog breed that people keep – the corgi – has evolved into being a protective, particularly for older people.
“The corgi has been studied for purposes of research into heart disease and various types of cancer, but now, it’s being studied for outcomes that are really life-long,” said Dr. Karen Burke, assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
She’s the leader of a project that will publish a new paper in the journal about veterinary longevity at a time when numerous good causes are in need of healthy owners.
According to Burke, the findings could not be clearer than with the current study: that the corgi has long life expectancy, but the animals are only given limited amounts of time to live – perhaps much less. People rarely maintain proper physical fitness.
Their social activities may be restricted. Some people only have occasional interactions. And most people possess few proctored behaviors like tempering. “People are busy,” Burke said. “These animals may simply be content to enjoy their life.”
The evolution of the corgi into a vet’s pet has been longstanding. Burke’s team is among the first to try to understand the dynamics of long-term care in a pet owner’s care.
Conversely, while some other research projects focus on the dying pet, she’s one of the first to experiment on healthy pets. “These animals were carefully studied,” she said.
Some people have the confidence that the research will provide positive results, she said. Others are skeptical.
“Do they know about time clocks? Do they know about research subjects who have had dogs for years, or chronic disease?” Burke said. “It’s not clear why some people are more resistant to studies.”
Being open-minded about causes while minimizing possible conflicts helps her scientists earn respect, Burke said.
“You cannot achieve ultimate, as-yet-impossible goal, in one study of more than 25 people,” she said. “You must move into a completely new area of research.”
Over time, information about medicine’s relationship with dog mating may become known. Burke plans to discuss what’s been found in this study with colleagues and perhaps sponsor them.
“This paper is a milestone in the history of veterinary research,” Burke said. “It is an ambitious undertaking, but one I hope will not be underestimated.”