The Dog Blog

From the Vet

Osteoarthritis | A Canine Welfare Issue and How Librela Can Change the Game

by Dr. Eileen Savier CVA, CVCH

Aug 8, 2023

Osteoarthritis is one condition that we see frequently that I am very passionate about. Unfortunately sometimes convincing people that their dogs are painful can be challenging. We expect that if a pet is painful we will see very obvious signs of pain- significant limping, reluctance to walk, not playing, and not doing things they enjoy. More often pets will continue doing what they enjoy and will show subtle signs. Walks are slower, there is a mild change in gait pattern, the stop jumping up and down from furniture or a change in their body musculature. This can make realizing that your pet is painful challenging and making accepting that we need to intervene difficult to accept.

Arthritis is not just an old dog disease. In puppies that are born with hip or elbow dysplasia we can see arthritis develop at eight months to one year old. We have some research that it can be found in puppies as young as four months of age!! There are several great resources you can use to look for signs of arthritis or discuss your pet with other care givers who own dogs with arthritis, they are listed below:

Librela Coming Soon

In the past we have discussed weight management, joint supplements, NSAIDS, adjunctive medications, tPEMF (Assisi loop), photobiomodulation (laser therapy), joint injections, shock wave therapy, and rehabilitation therapy as ways to control pain from arthritis. Today we get to chat about a new product that I am really excited about. Monoclonal antibodies! This is a very targeted, safe and effective way to treat pain related to arthritis without being worried about the side effects of other oral medication. It is also exciting because for severe cases that are already on oral medication this can safely be added into a current therapy plan without concern.

So, how does it work? Librela is a once monthly subcutaneous (under the skin) injection that binds nerve growth factor (NGF). NGF helps signal other inflammatory mediators which cause excitation of pain receptors. Librela will bind this molecule reducing its effect in the body. This results in reduced pain from arthritis, limits the release of additional NGF and pro inflammatory mediators and lowers neurogenic inflammation. This is a really exciting development in the way canine arthritis is treated.

If you want to evaluate your pet at home to see if he might have arthritis you can look at the Canine brief pain inventory or the download the questionnaire.

If your pet has abnormalities call your veterinarian and make an appointment to discuss options. Keep in mind that arthritis management typically takes a multimodal approach with weight loss being the key to long term success.

About Dr. Eileen Savier

Barks & Recreation is proud to feature Dr. Eileen Savier CVA, CVCH as our Veterinary Blogger in our “From the Vet” Series — offering information related to the health and welfare of your furry family members! Currently part of the team of doctors at Keystone Veterinary Clinic, Dr. Savier is a 2012 Graduate of the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, She completed her clinical experience at The Ohio State University and after veterinary school she pursued further education and certification in Veterinary Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, and Fear Free veterinary visits. Dr. Savier has a special interest in integrative medicine, animal behavior, and internal medicine and is committed to improving animal health care by integrating Eastern and Western philosophies. She enjoys working with fearful & aggressive dogs and cats and she has had additional training in low stress handling techniques and encourages positive reinforcement during exams and procedures. Her clinical interests include pain management, animal behavior, geriatric patient care, and internal medicine.

Dr. Savier is a member of the following associations:

Dr. Savier shares her home with two (soon to be three) dogs, two cats, and a toddler. She lovingly refers to her two dogs as Coconut Retrievers as they were rescue dogs she brought home from the island of St. Kitts. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, going to the beach, and planning her next Disney vacation.