The effect of anti-nerve growth factor monoclonal antibodies on the clinical signs of degenerative joint disease in cats



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PICO Question

Are felinised anti-nerve growth factor monoclonal antibodies (frunevetmab) effective at reducing the clinical signs of pain and immobility in cats with degenerative joint disease when compared with no treatment?


Clinical bottom line

Category of research



Number and type of study designs reviewed

Three peer-reviewed randomised controlled trial treatment studies, two of which were pilot studies.


Strength of evidence



Outcomes reported

All three studies concluded that there was a statistical reduction in pain and an improvement in mobility in the groups administered frunevetmab, when compared to the groups administered the placebo.



There is moderate evidence suggesting that the administration of frunevetmab by injection led to a reduction in pain and an increase in mobility. Injections were given at day 0; day 0 and 28, or day 0, 28 and 56 depending on the study. Further research should be conducted to ensure repeatability, involving more objectively measured outcomes to reduce the reliance on subjective measures which are more likely to have associated bias.


How to apply this evidence in practice

The application of evidence into practice should take into account multiple factors, not limited to: individual clinical expertise, patient’s circumstances and owners’ values, country, location or clinic where you work, the individual case in front of you, the availability of therapies and resources.

Knowledge Summaries are a resource to help reinforce or inform decision making. They do not override the responsibility or judgement of the practitioner to do what is best for the animal in their care.


Benito, J., Hansen, B., Depuy, V., Davidson, G.S., Thomson, A., Simpson, W., Roe, S., Hardie, E. & Lascelles, B.D.X. (2013). Feline Musculoskeletal Pain Index: Responsiveness and Testing of Criterion Validity. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. 27(3), 474-482. DOI:

Conzemius, M.G. & Evans, R.B. (2012). Caregiver placebo effect for dogs with lameness from osteoarthritis. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. 241(10), 1314–1319. DOI:

Gruen, M.E., Griffith, E.H., Thomson, A.E., Simpson, W. & Lascelles, B.D.X. (2015). Criterion Validation Testing of Clinical Metrology Instruments for Measuring Degenerative Joint Disease Associated Mobility Impairment in Cats. PLOS ONE. 10(7), p.e0131839. DOI:

Gruen, M.E., Thomson, A.E., Griffith, E..H, Paradise, H., Gearing, D.P. & Lascelles, B.D.X. (2016). A Feline‐Specific Anti‐Nerve Growth Factor Antibody Improves Mobility in Cats with Degenerative Joint Disease-Associated Pain: A Pilot Proof of Concept Study. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. 30(4), 1138–1148. DOI:

Gruen, M.E., Myers, J.A.E. & Lascelles, B.D.X. (2021)a. Efficacy and Safety of an Anti-nerve Growth Factor Antibody (Frunevetmab) for the Treatment of Degenerative Joint Disease-Associated Chronic Pain in Cats: A Multisite Pilot Field Study. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 8(610028). DOI:

Gruen, M.E., Myers, J.A.E., Tena, J.S., Becskei, C., Cleaver, D.M. & Lascelles, B.D.X. (2021)b. Frunevetmab, a felinized anti-nerve growth factor monoclonal antibody, for the treatment of pain from osteoarthritis in cats. Journal of Veterinary Internal medicine. 35(6), 2752–2762. DOI:

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Lascelles, B.D.X., Hansen, B.D., Roe, S., DePuy, V., Thomson, A., Pierce, C.C., Smith, E.S. & Rowinski, E. (2007). Evaluation of Client-Specific Measures and Activity Monitoring to Measure Pain Relief in Cats with Osteoarthritis. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. 21(3), 410–416. DOI:

Monteiro, B.P. & Steagall, P.V. (2019). Chronic pain in cats: Recent advances in clinical assessment. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. 21(7), 601–614. DOI:

Sivén, M., Savolainen, S., Räntilä, S., Männikkö, S., Vainionpää, M., Airaksinen, S., Raekallio, M., Vainio, O. & Juppo, A.M. (2017). Difficulties in administration of oral medication formulations to pet cats: an e-survey of cat owners. Veterinary Record. 180(10), 250–250. DOI:

Vol. 8 No. 4 (2023): The fourth issue of 2023

Section: Knowledge Summaries

Categories :  Small Animal  /  Dogs  /  Cats  /  Rabbits  /  Production Animal  /  Cattle  /  Sheep  /  Pig  /  Equine  /  Exotics  /