Synovetin OA

Portland Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Care proudly offers Synovetin OA ®.

Synotvetin OA

What is Synovetin OA®?

Synovetin OA® is a safe, effective, and long-lasting treatment for the pain and inflammation of canine osteoarthritis (OA). It’s a single injection into the synovial joint, done here in our hospital, after which your dog can go home.

How does Synovetin OA® work?

Synovetin OA® is a very advanced, safe form of nuclear medicine. It uses microscopic particles of a novel therapeutic medical radioactive material. These particles are absorbed by and deactivate the cells within the joint that cause pain, inflammation, and ongoing damage to the cartilage. While the microparticles are only active for a short time, the benefits of this targeted treatment can last up to one year, sometimes longer.

What are the benefits of this treatment method?

Synovetin OA® is a convenient treatment option for canine osteoarthritis (OA):  It’s a simple, safe, non-surgical procedure that allows your dog to go home the same day with no limitations on their activity afterward.  There’s no rehabilitation needed; however, if your dog is currently undergoing rehab, it can start again once social distancing limitations end.  It’s a targeted therapy that treats only the affected joint. You don’t have to give pills every day. The active ingredients are not absorbed in the body like traditional medicines.  For most dogs, it is a one-time treatment, but it can be repeated as early as one year after the first treatment.

Does it work?

Early clinical trials show a response rate of 92% of dogs with low-grade elbow arthritis, and a 74% response rate for dogs with more advanced osteoarthritis.

Early experience of clinicians throughout the country are confirming these high numbers.

Synovetin will not help muscle or tendon problems which cause lameness.  Synovetin works best in dogs with low-grade arthritis but still has an effect in many chronic and end-stage arthritic cases. Animals often stay on their medications to help achieve maximum comfort, but not always. Due to the mechanism of action, benefits are seen 1 week to two months after treatment.

Benefits, if achieved, can last up to one year, and sometimes longer.  The treatment is provided on an outpatient basis and requires heavy sedation.  Most dogs are admitted between 8-9 am and will be discharged between 12-4 pm, times to be scheduled by Synovetin coordinator, Vicki Bartlet. We recommend giving your dog their normal pain medication the morning prior to treatment, and continuing for several days afterward.

Is Synovetin OA® safe?

Yes, Synovetin OA® has been through numerous studies that proved the procedure is safe and therefore has no significant treatment-related adverse events. This same procedure has been used for more than 60 years to safely treat people with arthritis.

Synovetin is a medical radiotherapeutic used to treat inflammation inside the joint.  It is most commonly used in elbows, but can be used in other joints in the state of Maine.  It stays locked in the joint and is not excreted in urine, feces, saliva, etc.

Most dogs measure between 0.2 and 0.45mR/hr at time of discharge.  Safe human exposure to a radiotherapeutic in the State of Maine for the general public is considered 100mrem annually.  For veterinary professionals which are trained occupational workers, the level is  5,000 mrem annually.   A study conducted by Johns Hopkins in 12 households with treated dogs, found one household member in the 12 different households was exposed to 25 mrem over one year (25% of the allowable dose in the State of Maine). All other household members measured were less.

There are no limitations for contact for other animals in the household as radiation safety in people is looked at over a century, but in dogs and cats they have a life expectancy of 10-20 years.

Hundreds of dogs have been treated thus far, with no adverse side effects noted, other than an increase in pain in some cases which subsides after 1 to 5 days.

What to expect for the Day of Treatment?

  1. Prior to the treatment date, our Synovetin Coordinator will communicate with you via email to confirm date of treatment, drop off time at the 2255 Congress Ave PVESC campus.
  2. We recommend that your dog receive their pain medications the morning of treatment, typically in a small meatball.
  3. We do allow a small (1/3) normal breakfast 3 hours prior to the scheduled admit time.  Small amounts of water are also fine.
  4. Dogs will be scheduled a discharge time in the afternoon.
  5. Some dogs will experience an increase in pain following the injection for 1-5 days after the treatment.  This is one reason we continue pain medication until the dog shows signs of improvement.
  6. If the treatment is going to work, due to the mechanism of action (MOA), it can take one to eight weeks to see results.

We look forward to meeting you and your dog at a scheduled consultation to help decide if this treatment is the best choice.


Vicki Bartlet, LVT, Synovetin Coordinator

Vicki grew up in Maine and is a Licensed Veterinary Technician. She graduated from the University of Maine at Orono in 1991 with a degree in Animal Medical Technology. She joined our team at PVESC in November 2015. Her experiences include small animal medicine, biotechnology, referral medicine, and equine medicine. Vicki transitioned back to small animal practice after working for 14 years with a local equine veterinary practice, and now works in our surgical department and occasionally in the ER.

Vicki shares her home with two terriers, a cat, and two horses. Life away from the hospital is spent hiking with her dogs, riding her horse, playing at the lake, gardening, reading, and spending time with family and friends.

Marta Agrodnia, DVM, DACVS, Chief of Surgical Department

Marta Agrodnia

Dr. Agrodnia lives in Maine with her husband, four children, and multiple family pets.  She has been practicing for 25 years and is a surgical specialist.  Dr. Agrodnia has lectured regarding Synovetin and orthopedic conditions nationally.

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