Canine osteoarthritis drug, Lyme disease bacteria vaccine receive approvals

Published: 22 May 2023


Two recent drug approvals mean a novel treatment for the control of canine osteoarthritis (OA) pain and an oral vaccine against the wildlife spread of Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium responsible for Lyme disease, will soon hit the market.

On May 5, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Librela, for the control of canine OA pain in the U.S. The first and only injectable monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatment for canine OA is expected to be available in late 2023.

A once-monthly injection administered by a veterinary professional, Librela (bedinvetmab injection) works differently than other pain medications, according to a May 5 release from Zoetis. It targets nerve growth factor (NGF) to control canine OA pain. Librela functions like naturally produced antibodies and is metabolized and eliminated via normal protein degradation pathways with minimal involvement of the liver or kidneys, according to the company.

A diagnosis of osteoarthritis in a pet can be unwelcome to the veterinarian as well as the pet owner because the disease is painful and progressive. OA affects more than 20% of dogs and is the most common cause of lameness in dogs older than 1 year, according to recent studies. This prevalence is significantly increased in senior patients, increasing to almost 80%.

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