(Washington) Good news for old felines with osteoarthritis: US health officials have approved a treatment to reduce their pain.
These are monoclonal antibodies – a type of treatment that has received a lot of attention since the COVID-19 pandemic because it helps reduce the risk of serious illness.
But this is the first time that synthetic antibodies have been authorized for animals.
“Advances in veterinary medicine have been instrumental in extending the lives of many animals, including cats,” Steven Solomon, director of the veterinary section of the US Medicines Agency (FDA), said in a statement.
“But longer lives are associated with more chronic diseases, like osteoarthritis,” he added.
The new medicine is given by subcutaneous injection once a month. The dosage depends on the weight of the cat.
Osteoarthritis is a disease that affects the joints: with age, the cartilage allowing two bones to slide wears out, causing friction that causes pain.
The new treatment, called Solensia, attaches to a protein called NGF which is involved in the regulation of pain. The pain signal is thus prevented from reaching the brain.
In clinical trials, researchers asked cat owners to describe their pet’s behavior: does it jump as much as before from furniture to furniture? Does he wash as much?
This behavior was then compared after taking the treatment.
Mild side effects were seen, such as vomiting or diarrhea, but they did not require stopping treatment.