Bitter Pill for Pain? It just got Better

german shepherd

Limping is a strong clue, but a dog who’s not prone to drama may just get up more slowly or try turning back on leash walks. Arthritic cats might quit jumping onto the counter or their cavorting may have lost its youthful flourish. Some kitties start making unpleasant deposits because it’s gotten painful climbing into the litter pan.

Arthritis lasts a lifetime. Oral medications like Rimadyl for dogs and Metacam for cats often help. And most pets do fine but there can be adverse effects including stomach and intestinal damage and injury to the kidneys or liver. There are new treatments that are safer and often better for chronic joint pain.

Librela for dogs and Solensia for cats are monthly injections of a monoclonal antibody that inhibits a substance, called nerve growth factor, that’s released by damaged cells in arthritic joints. Most pets feel better within 7-28 days. Side effects are uncommon. Librela and Solensia carry no risk to the liver or kidneys.

Dr. Kendra Freeman is a board certified veterinary surgeon with the Roadrunner Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Hospital in Algodones. She has found that some pets who’ve taken long term conventional oral drugs like Rimadyl face rising liver or kidney blood values, risking organ failure. In others, these tried and true meds can begin losing their effectiveness. Replacing them with Librela for dogs or Solensia for cats has made a huge difference. And, of course, there are a whole lot of cats who would rather mangle, maim and dismember the people they love for the singular offense of trying to give them a pill. An injection can be much better for everybody’s wellbeing.

Like all “wonder drugs” these have their limitations. They can be mighty good at reducing pain but they do nothing for inflammation – a major contributor to the pathology we are trying to manage. And they can get expensive. Cost ranges from about $70 – $90/month. One or two injections is only the start. It’s like exercise – only worthwhile if you’re in it for the long haul.

For help with behavior problems, you can sign-up for a Zoom Group Conference on my website,

Dr. Jeff Nichol is a residency-trained veterinary behaviorist. He provides consultations in-person and in groups by Zoom ( Each week he shares a blog and a video to help bring out the best in pets and their people. Sign up at no charge at Email pet behavior or physical questions to or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.