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Solensia for Cats: Vet-Reviewed Uses & Effectiveness

Written by: Grant Piper

Last Updated on May 7, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team


Solensia for Cats: Vet-Reviewed Uses & Effectiveness


Dr. Ashley Darby Photo


Dr. Ashley Darby

Veterinarian, BVSc

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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According to clinical studies, 40% of all cats show some signs of feline osteoarthritis.1 That number dramatically increases as a cat ages. By the age of 12, over 90% of cats have some sign of feline osteoarthritis. Feline osteoarthritis can cause pain, mobility issues, and irritability, which can impact a cat’s quality of life. A new drug technology has improved pain management in cats suffering from feline osteoarthritis. One such drug is Solensia, an injectable monoclonal antibody treatment designed to vastly reduce joint pain in cats.

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What Is Solensia?

Solensia is an injectable drug developed by Zoetis for use in cats. Solensia was developed to treat pain stemming from feline osteoarthritis. Solensia is a brand name for the drug Frunevetmab. Solensia is a monoclonal antibody treatment that targets nerve growth factor in cats.

In layman’s terms, the antibodies work to disrupt the flow of pain information from the joints to the brain. This is a different mechanism than NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). NSAIDs work to reduce inflammation. Monoclonal antibody treatments are a relatively new technology with notable success rates.

vet giving injection cute grey cat
Image Credit: KDdesign_photo_video, Shutterstock

How Is Solensia Given?

Solensia is given via subcutaneous injection. Solensia is given monthly and must be administered by a veterinarian because it is injectable. You cannot buy Solensia over the counter and therefore you must get the medication from your veterinarian who will also administer the dose.

Dosing Information

Dose Weight
1 mL 5.5–15.4 pounds
2 mL 15.5–30.8 pounds

Solensia should be stored upright in a refrigerated environment with temperatures between 35 and 46˚F. Solensia is designed for single use. After a dose is administered, there is not usually any leftovers, but if there is, the remaining contents must be disposed of. Each dose vial should contain 1 mL of Solensia for use by a veterinary professional.

What Happens if You Miss a Dose?

Since Solensia is given via monthly injection, your veterinarian should schedule you follow up appointments every 4 weeks to receive the next injection. If you miss an appointment, you should call your veterinarian to reschedule. Your cat will not become unwell from missing a dose, but their pain will return.

Professional handsome male vet smiling joyfully talking to his female client after examining her cat
Image Credit: Nestor Rizhniak, Shutterstock

Potential Side Effects of Solensia

Solensia, like all drugs, has a number of potential side effects. According to clinical trials, the top eight most common side effects of Solensia include:

  • Vomiting
  • Injection site pain or redness
  • Diarrhea
  • Abnormal behaviors
  • Anorexia
  • Lethargy
  • Dermatitis
  • Hair loss

Cats that show signs of an allergic reaction to Solensia should stop treatment immediately. Solensia should not be given to cats who are allergic to it. Solensia can cause minor dermatitis and some spotty hair loss around the injection site. These problems are minor but if you are concerned raise questions with your veterinarian.

cat lying on the windowsill looking sick
Image Credit: Nata Aleks, Shutterstock

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Long Does Solensia Take to Work?

67% of cat owners notice an improvement after 28 days. Even more people reported improvements after 3 months on monthly Solensia injections. By their third dose, most cats will have reduced pain levels. Some cats respond better to Solensia than others. That means that Solensia can take between 1 and 3 months to start working fully.

How Effective Is Solensia?

In a 3-month clinical trial, 77% of owners whose cats were given Solensia reported marked improvement in their pain. Three out of four cats will improve their pain on Solensia over a 3-month period.

woman working in a veterinary clinic sitting in front of a cat filling out a medical form
Image Credit: Pressmaster, Shutterstock

Can Solensia Be Given With Vaccines?

Yes. Solensia can be given alongside regular vaccines. This can save owners a trip to the veterinarian’s office. Zoetis recommends that if Solensia is being given with vaccines that the vaccine and Solensia injection should be in separate areas on the cat so that the vet can monitor any potential side effects or reactions.

Can Owners Give Solensia to Their Cats at Home?

No. Owners should not attempt to give Solensia at home. Solensia was developed and designed to be administered by a veterinarian in a professional setting. Solensia cannot be purchased over the counter, and the injection must be given subcutaneously, meaning it should be left to veterinary professionals. If accidentally injected into a human there is the possibility of severe side effects.

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Solensia can be an effective treatment for cats suffering from feline osteoarthritis. Solensia should be recommended and administered by a veterinarian. Solensia must be given via injection once per month. You should not attempt to give Solensia to your cat yourself from home. If you have any questions about Solensia and whether this medication could be right for your particular cat, consult your veterinarian for more personalized information.

Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

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