Does a New Canine Arthritis Medication Live Up to the Hype?

Exploring the effects of Librela

Dog with bowl
Keeping pets healthy is important.
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Watching a dog in distress can be a painful experience even if the dog isn’t yours. There’s a reason why there’s an enduring website called Does the Dog Die?, which offers details about the fates of dogs in movies and television shows, after all. A recent USA Today survey of pet owners found that many pet owners in the U.S. spend thousands of dollars annually on their dogs and cats.

All of that is to say that it comes as no surprise to hear that many dog owners have embraced the chance to keep their dogs healthier later in the life. And so last year, when the FDA approved the drug Librela to treat osteoarthritis pain in dogs, plenty of owners of aging dogs sought it out. But as with nearly every drug, there are side effects — and a recent Washington Post investigation explored whether Librela is worth it.

Some of the Post‘s findings come directly from the drugmaker Zoetis itself, which pointed to “[v]omiting and soft stool” in its own clinical trials. Writing at the Post, Alexandra E. Petri pointed to a backlash against Librela from some dog owners on social media, with a few posters arguing that their dogs had actually lost mobility as a result of taking the drug. On the other hand, the veternarians Petri spoke with for the article “[emphasized] the drug’s largely positive results.”

A Respiratory Illness Is Affecting Dogs Across the Country
State and federal agencies are monitoring the issue

Clinical trials in both the U.S. and Europe also showed dogs responding better to Librela than a placebo. But the experts cited in the article made two big points: it can take time for dogs to show results, and Librela won’t work for every dog that uses it. Medicine can do a lot, but no one medication works perfectly for everyone who takes it — something that’s as true for humans as it is for their best friends.

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