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New Research Study for Senior Dogs: Targeting Frailty To Improve Healthspan and Well-Being

Principle Investigators

Dr. Margaret Gruen

Dr. Natasha Olby


Dr. David Knazovicky


The goal of this study is to monitor how frailty in senior dogs progresses over time, and how activity impacts their well-being. We hope to use what we learn to better treat senior dogs in the future.

After the initial screening and meet and greet visit, dogs who are enrolled in the study will be monitored over a 6-month period. During this time frame, we will require 15 more visits to the NC State Veterinary Hospital. Three of these visits are study visits at Month 0, Month 3, and Month 6 in which our research team will collect information about your dog’s health, how they move and think through various exams, mobility and cognitive tests. The other 12 visits will be for rehabilitation therapy. All visits are drop off appointments for your convenience. Dogs will always receive lots of snuggles from our research team, as well as yummy (and diet appropriate!) treats.

We are comparing the progression of frailty in senior dogs who are receiving hospital rehabilitation therapy with dogs who are not receiving therapy over a 6-month period. If you choose to participate in this study, your dog may or may not be assigned to the treatment group that receives physical rehabilitation therapy.

Appointment Flow


Your dog may be a good candidate for this study if they are a senior dog (10 years or older!) experiencing any of the following conditions: decreased interest in playing, weight loss, muscle loss, difficulty walking, and/or get tired out more easily when exercising.

Dogs with stable chronic diseases which are not expected to impact the dog’s ability to complete the study may be accepted at the discretion of the researchers (ex. heart murmur without evidence of progression towards heart failure).

If you suspect your dog is currently experiencing pain and/or you are unhappy with the pain management that your dog is currently receiving, please consult with your dog’s veterinarian to optimize their pain management prior to entering the study. The study is designed to see if rehabilitation therapy improves the health and well-being of frail dogs and therefore, we want to ensure your dog’s pain is well managed with medication, if you choose to do so, prior to the start of the study.

Dogs with cancer and dogs who are currently receiving rehabilitation therapy are not eligible for study participation.

Study Benefits

Your dog will receive free physical, orthopedic, and neurological exams at each study visit. Bloodwork and a urine analysis will be performed at the beginning and end of the study. All medical information will be relayed to you and your referring veterinarian.

Dogs who are randomly assigned to the treatment group will receive free weekly rehabilitation therapy sessions for 12 weeks! When the study is completed, we will notify you what treatment your dog received.


View MAF Frailty Clinical Trial Flyer


If you wish to enroll your dog in this study and believe they meet the requirements described above, please follow the link below to begin the enrollment survey. The team will contact you based on your answers to the survey as to whether or not your dog is eligible and to schedule their first visit.

Proceed to Enrollment Survey

Or copy and paste the following URL into your browser:

For more information or any inquiries about participation, please contact our research team by email at