New Treatment for Pain Relief from Canine Osteoarthritis

Librela, soon to be released in the U.S., has been used for canine osteoarthritis in Europe for two years with great results.


A new treatment for managing osteoarthritis pain was recently approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Librela is a once-monthly injection administered by your dog’s vet. The target release date – when it will become available to veterinarians – is November 2023.

Librela is a monoclonal antibody that binds to nerve growth factor (NGF), part of the pain-signaling pathway in osteoarthritis. Binding to NGF prevents the pain signal from being transmitted to the brain.

Librela has been used in Europe for more than two years, with good success in managing canine osteoarthritis pain. The dogs’ pain assessment scores significantly decreased after two injections of Librela given 28 days apart. Their pain continued to be well-managed with monthly injections.

A feline version called Solensia has been available in the U.S. since January 2022. Many cat owners (including me!) have seen significant improvement in their cats’ mobility and overall comfort since starting Solensia.

There is no minimum weight requirement for Librela, so it can be used in dogs of any size. Dogs should be at least 1 year of age before starting Librela. Librela has not been studied with the concurrent use of NSAIDs.

Librela is labeled for use only in managing osteoarthritis pain of the limb joints, such as hips, stifles (knees), shoulders, and elbows. It has not been studied in managing osteoarthritis pain of the spine.

The most common side effects of Librela include urinary tract infection, bacterial skin infections, and dermatitis at the injection site. Some dogs experienced a rise in blood urea nitrogen (BUN), one of the markers for possible kidney disease on a blood chemistry panel. However, there were no other indications that Librela caused renal damage. Your veterinarian may want to complete baseline bloodwork before starting

Librela may be an effective part of a multi-modal approach to treating osteoarthritis. Ask your veterinarian if Librela may help manage your dog’s osteoarthritis pain.


  1. Before giving Librela, do research. There is a facebook group of dog owners who have used (or are using) Librela and the experiences of these people provide some considerations. Finally, just because the FDA approved the drug and veterinarians are singing its praise, does not mean it’s a miracle cure. I was so looking forward to providing this treatment to my 12 1/2 yr old Smooth Collie who is diagnosed with osteoarthritis. (He has his over-the-counter supplements, prescription medications, PEMF mat, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, laser, and body conditioning treatments to help with pain management and prevent muscle mass loss). But, unless pain management loses its effectiveness and his muscle mass deteriorates (and I’m scrambling for that last ditch effort to make him comfortable) I decided (sadly) to pass on Librela. In other words, it will be used as a last ditch effort to make him comfortable in his own skin.

  2. Librela has been an absolute lifesaver for my dog. She has arthritis in her stifle that affected her quality of life. My happy bouncy dog became withdrawn, and interacted very little with people. After the first dose, she was back to being an enthusiastic happy dog! I’ve been able to space out the injections to every 7 weeks. I will keep her on this medication indefinitely.