Arthritis affects millions of dogs worldwide and is something that I see, as a physiotherapist, on the regular in practice. Symptoms range from slow to rise, avoidance of certain tasks such as jumping up on the couch, changes in behaviour, lameness and many more.
The continuous search for effective treatment options has led to the development of Beransa (known as Librela overseas) which has finally made it's way to Australia shores and is currently being used to treat pain in arthritic dogs.
So what exactly is Beransa?
Beransa, delivered as a once monthly subcutaneous injection, delivers a big boost of monoclonal antibodies - a type of immune system protein. In a simplistic way, the monoclonal antibodies go on to mimic naturally occurring antibodies and begin to block pain signals due to it's unique ability to attach to nerve growth factor. Nerve growth factor is an essential protein which is important for growth and survival of sensory nerves (which needs to attach to it's receptor on a nerve cells to transmit pain signals) and voila, just like that the nerve cannot attach to nerve growth factor to transmit it's pain signal because the monoclonal antibody has decided to take up residency and couple with nerve growth factor instead.
When did Beransa become available in Australia?
Beransa was first made available in Australia this year (2023) (and in Europe in 2021) and is a fairly new addition to the treatment of OA pain in dogs. Since its introduction, veterinarians and pet owners have been in favour of it due to it's reported low adverse reaction rate.
What is the cost of administration?
The cost of administering Beransa can vary depending on the dog's size, the severity of arthritis, and the chosen treatment plan. As with any specialised medication, dog owners should consult their veterinarian to determine the most suitable dosage and duration of treatment for their pet. Beransa can be a tad more expensive compared to some common traditional treatments.
Are there any potential side effects?
Like any medication, Beransa may have some potential adverse effects on dogs. However, research has shown that these adverse effects are generally mild and well-tolerated. The most common adverse events reported include urinary tract infections, bacterial skin infections, dermatitis, and increased blood urea nitrogen. Beransa should also not be administered to breeding, pregnant or lactating dogs.
What is the research saying?
In two field studies, dogs administered Beransa as a monthly injection demonstrated a reduction in OA pain compared to dogs that received the placebo and by reducing pain, Beransa was also shown to help their mobility and overall quality of life (corral et al 2022) While effectiveness may not be seen until after the second dose of Beransa, some dogs may experience a reduction in pain as early as seven days after the first dose. Additionally, in a continuation study, dogs treated with Beransa experienced lasting OA pain relief over the course of the study with monthly injections (Corral et al 2022)
European veterinarians who have used Beransa rated their overall satisfaction 8.6 out of 10, the highest of any OA pain medication evaluated (ZMR 2022)
Beransa, represents a promising breakthrough in the treatment of canine arthritis and offers hope for significantly improving the comfort and well-being of arthritic dogs by reducing pain associated with arthritis. With it's relatively low reported adverse reaction/ side effects and overall high satisfaction rates by veterinarians, Beransa is fast becoming a favourite in treating OA pain in dogs.
Corral, M. J., et al. (2021). A prospective, randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled multisite clinical study of bedinvetmab, a canine monoclonal antibody targeting nerve growth factor, in dogs with osteoarthritis. Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia, 48, 943-955.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (2023, May 5). FDA Approves First Monoclonal Antibody for Dogs with Osteoarthritis Pain. Retrieved May 13, 2023.