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A Few Readers Concerns

Regarding my article from last time, I received a few e-mails from pet owners with good and not-so-good experiences with medicines developed and prescribed for veterinary purposes. One e-mail was from a reader who had recently lost their pet after the pet was treated with the drug Bedinvetmab, sold under the brand name Librela. Bedinvetmab is a canine monoclonal antibody used to control pain associated with osteoarthritis in dogs. They urged me to inform my readers about the dangers of this product. I have no first-hand knowledge of this drug or its effects, so I will provide you with what I have found online after researching the drug. I have also contacted a veterinarian for their opinion of the drug. The veterinarian replied as stated below.

“Librela is a canine anti-nerve growth monoclonal antibody. It was developed a few years ago and approved by the FDA for veterinary use about twelve months ago with minimal side effects. It blocks the pain at the nerve ending. We have been using it in our practice with no side effects, and it certainly beats the side effects of the other arthritic pain-controlling medications. It does not change the arthritis but rather the effects, i.e., the pain caused by the arthritis. It should not be used in pregnant or breastfeeding dogs. It may have side effects on the kidneys, but like so many other painkillers, there is no perfect drug. Carprofen (Rimadyl), which has been used for years, may affect the liver, and Metacam, another anti-inflammatory, has gastric side effects. Even simple aspirin has side effects and is primarily used as an anti-clotting drug in cardiac patients. The advantage of Librela is that it is given by injection only once a month and does not have to be given orally on a daily basis like other arthritic pain medications. Blood tests should be done every three months to make sure that the drug has not adversely affected the liver or kidney.”
Jonathan Greenfield, DVM, MS

Per the FDA website (https://www.fda. gov/animal-veterinary/cvm-updates/ fda-approves-first-monoclonal-antibody-dogs-osteoarthritis-pain), as of May 5, 2023.

“Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Ad-ministration approved Librela (Bedinvetmab injection) for the control of pain associated with osteoarthritis (OA) in dogs. Librela is the first monoclonal antibody (mAb) the FDA has approved for use in dogs. The FDA approved a mAb for cats on January 13, 2022, which was the first mAb new animal drug approved by the FDA for use in any animal species and the first treatment for the control of pain associated with OA in cats.”

I have read some reviews for this specific drug, and some people rave about its positive effects, while others claim it is not a good treatment, especially for senior dogs. Many drugs, including human-grade prescriptions, have side effects that are harmful to other parts of the body. My sister-in-law took a daily dose of a popular OTC painkiller, and her doctors felt her overuse of this drug caused her permanent deafness.
As to the side effects of Librela, the FDA states, “The most common side effects seen in dogs treated with Librela included increased blood urea nitrogen (an indicator of kidney function), urinary tract infection, bacterial skin infection, skin irritation (dermatitis), rash (erythema) or pain at the injection site, vomiting (emesis), and weight loss (anorexia).”

This statement echoes the opinion of Dr. Greenfield, who also stated that aspirin, a common drug taken by millions of people daily, has many side effects.

Barry KuKes is the former Community Outreach Director of Halifax Humane Society. E-mail him at bkukes@gmail.com View more of his work at minicooperpro ductions.com