Arthritis is one of the most common problems we see in dogs. It can develop at any age or breed and can be due to wear and tear, traumatic injuries, or conformational anomalies.

It is estimated that 4 out of 10 dogs suffer from arthritis, and pain associated with this significantly reduces mobility and has a negative effect on their quality of life. It can reduce quality of sleep which affects cognitive function (just like humans). Chronic pain can affect social relationships with other dogs as they associate contact with pain. Osteoarthritis (OA) is likely to become more prevalent as dogs live longer and often struggle with obesity.

While we can't stop the disease process, we can identify it earlier so effective treatment can be implemented to help reduce pain. Many owners just put stiffness or slowing down to old age, but it is actually due to joint pain and dogs can be rejuvenated once on a suitable medication.

Common signs of OA are limping after exercise (often wears off after the dog is warmed up), lagging behind on walks, being slow to get up from resting, reluctance to jump into the car or go up steps.

Bedinvetmab (Librela) is a revolutionary new treatment for canine OA which gives us a very effective alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs for long term treatment. It is given as a monthly injection and is an anti-nerve growth factor (NGF) monoclonal antibody which works completely differently to NSAIDS.

Monoclonal antibodies are highly specific immune system proteins that like naturally occurring antibodies target and neutralise molecules involved in a disease process. They have the added benefit of being eliminated by normal protein degradation pathways so having minimal involvement of the liver and kidney. Another major benefit is minimal impact on the gastrointestinal tract so it is suitable to use in dogs that can't tolerate long term NSAIDS or suffer from irritable bowel disease (IBD).

NGF is a key factor in causing joint pain with OA and this is the chemical that is targeted and neutralised by Librela. It is administered by your vet as a monthly injection. Many dogs show an improvement after a single injection, but some take 3 injections to achieve the drugs full potential. Librela is safe to be administered with other drugs such as vaccinations, antibiotics and routine parasiticides. It can also be given with NSAIDs or other analgesics if joint pain is severe. It is useful in cases that cannot be given NSAIDS as they need another drug that interacts with them, such as steroids.

Many clients like the ease of a monthly injection, especially if their dogs are not very good at taking oral medications. There is also the benefit of a monthly health check which can be very useful at picking up other health problems in aged patients.

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