Zoetis Encourages Pet Owners and Veterinarians to Discuss Osteoarthritis in Dogs and Cats

Zoetis is sponsoring International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management’s Animal Pain Awareness Month in September to address this underdiagnosed condition

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – September 1, 2020 – This September, Zoetis is sponsoring the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management’s (IVAPM) Animal Pain Awareness Month to empower pet owners to become more educated about osteoarthritis (OA), a degenerative and progressively painful joint disease found in at least one in four dogs and one in three cats.1 In an effort to educate pet owners, Zoetis has created osteoarthritis checklists for dogs and cats to help owners identify signs of OA that can be difficult to detect at home. The checklists can guide pet owners to recognize signs of OA pain in their pets and to visit their veterinarian to confirm the diagnosis and discuss treatment options.

“At Zoetis, we are committed to innovative pain management solutions so veterinarians can restore the quality of life of pets suffering from OA and help build strong ongoing relationships with their owners,” said Sam Gilbert, VMD, Medical Lead, Zoetis Petcare. “As osteoarthritis is a progressive disease, we created our OA checklists to help owners be able to identify signs of pain in their pets regularly, and so their veterinarians have the tools to help ensure the pets are as comfortable as possible.”

It is critical for pet owners to understand signs and behaviors commonly associated with OA and know when to discuss the disease with their veterinarians, as the number of pets diagnosed or suspected to have OA continues to rise. Early to moderate OA pain can be challenging for veterinarians to diagnose because dogs and cats often do not exhibit signs of pain in a clinical examination setting. Owners are often able to perceive a problem with their pet at home but are not always sure how concerned they should be or when to seek treatment. In fact, in a 2018 survey, Zoetis found that 74% of owners with OA-diagnosed dogs believed their pets had OA before the diagnosis, but only 16% had scheduled a visit to their veterinarian to confirm their suspicions.1 However, 66% of dog owners and 58% of cat owners who were previously educated on the health implications of OA were more likely to consult and visit their veterinarian to confirm the diagnosis.1

“As the educational resource for veterinary professionals interested in animal pain management, IVAPM is proud to partner with Zoetis to help educate and inform pet owners about their pets’ health and well-being when it comes to pain,” said Jennifer Johnson, VMD, CVPP, President of the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management. “Animal Pain Awareness Month is the perfect time to provide pet owners with the tools they need to spot signs of OA at home and encourage them to have meaningful conversations with their veterinarians to restore their pets’ quality of life.” 

Animal Pain Awareness Month coincides with human medicine’s Pain Awareness Month, as pets suffer from pain just like people do. The pain of OA not only affects how pets function, but also how they feel and act. Common signs a pet may need medical evaluation and treatment include limping, hesitancy to jump up or down or climb stairs, decrease in activity, stiffness, slowness in standing up after a nap, and more. Veterinarians know that OA pain can take an emotional toll on pet owners – and can, in turn, affect their relationships with veterinarians. Pets and their owners also have different needs; therefore, providing options for customized treatment of OA will protect the human-animal bonds that matter most. Based on the OA treatment options currently available for dogs, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are believed to be among the most effective.2 

“Osteoarthritis pain can be a serious health problem for pets, and without treatment, the pain will continue to worsen and impact their quality of life,” said Michael Petty, DVM, CVPP, CVMA, and world-renowned expert in veterinary pain management. “Dog owners especially who are concerned about OA are encouraged to talk to their veterinarian about Rimadyl® (carprofen), a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that is used to reduce pain and inflammation due to osteoarthritis and surgery in dogs. Rimadyl works by blocking the production of body substances that cause inflammation, and its efficacy in treating OA makes it a trusted long-term treatment, as well as for short-term use after surgery.”

Rimadyl, a Zoetis product, is backed by many years of successful use and is the most trusted NSAID prescribed by veterinarians.3 Over 29 million dogs have been treated with Rimadyl.4 

Since cats have the tendency to hide their pain or signs of discomfort, it only makes it harder for cat owners to decide the best treatment option. While there are currently no NSAIDs approved for OA treatment in cats, owners can talk to their veterinarians about a medical treatment plan to help relieve their cat’s pain.5

For more information and resources, please visit Rimadyl and www.TheNewScienceofOAPain.com.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION FOR RIMADYL: As a class, NSAIDs may be associated with gastrointestinal, kidney and liver side effects. These are usually mild but may be serious. Pet owners should discontinue therapy and contact their veterinarian immediately if side effects occur. Evaluation for pre-existing conditions and regular monitoring are recommended for pets on any medication, including Rimadyl. Use with other NSAIDs or corticosteroids should be avoided. See full Prescribing Information.

About Zoetis 
Zoetis is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 65 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines, vaccines and diagnostic products, which are complemented by biodevices, genetic tests and precision livestock farming. Zoetis serves veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals with sales of its products in more than 100 countries. In 2019, the company generated annual revenue of $6.3 billion with approximately 10,600 employees. For more information, visit www.zoetis.com.

About the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management 
The International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM) is the leading forum and educational resource for veterinary professionals interested in animal pain prevention, management and treatment. IVAPM educates and informs pet owners about their pets’ health and well-being when it comes to pain management, be it acute or chronic pain.


  1. ZMR: Pet Owner OA Report Quantitative Research July 2018 (v1.0)
  2. ZMR: Rimadyl US Shipping History Data (v1.0) – pg 1 > 2 billion doses (p.1) 2,106,816,534
  3. ZMR: US NSAID Market Data December 2015: Canine Pets 2009-2015 (v3.0)
  4. ZMR: Zoetis PetCare BIAHP-288 (v5.0)
  5. AAHA: Pain Management Guidelines and Implementation Toolkits (v1.0)

For further information, contact: 
Colleen White 
908-666-5050 (c) 

Megan Cuff 



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