New Treatment for Dog Elbow Arthritis: Synovetin OA®

Is your dog suffering from elbow arthritis? Veterinary clinics are starting to offer a new treatment—Synovetin OA®.

Synovetin OA® is a form of nuclear medicine.

Nuclear medicine is a medical specialty that involves the application of radioactive substances in the diagnosis or treatment of disease.

Typically, you might encounter it as a diagnostic tool. For example, the veterinarian will administer a small amount of radioactive isotopes–tracers during specialty imaging. As a result, when viewed with a special gamma camera, it allows the evaluation of organ function. Unlike other types of imaging, nuclear imaging focuses on function rather than structure. In other words, it can help to:

  • assess kidney filtration rate
  • evaluate liver function
  • detect liver shunts
  • locate infection
  • bone metabolism
  • cancer distribution
  • thyroid function
  • heart function

Similarly, Synovetin OA® treatment introduces microscopic particles of radioactive medical material—Tin-117m into the affected joint by injection. Tin-117m is a novel radioisotope. However, rather than a diagnostic, Synovetin OA® is a treatment.

New Treatment for Dog Elbow Arthritis: Synovetin OA®

Current available treatments for elbow arthritis in dogs

In general, treatments for canine elbow arthritis are the same as for any other form of osteoarthritis in dogs. Treatment options include:

So what if your dog doesn’t respond to the standard therapies and supplementation? What if you don’t want to use medications with systemic impact? And what if you consider surgery too invasive?

Synovetin OA®

Synovetin OA® uses novel conversion electron therapy to target macrophages and synoviocytes in the injected joint. The goal is to break the cycle of inflammation and provide long-lasting pain relief.

What Synovetin OA® has going for it is simplicity.

  • the treatment consists of an injection into the joint(s) which makes it minimally invasive
  • he company projects the pain relief to last up to one year

How does it work?

The treatment reduces synovial inflammation. According to the manufacturer, the microparticles eradicate inflammatory cells in the joint.

Synovial inflammation is prevalent in all stages of osteoarthritis. Further, some studies demonstrated that synovitis is related to pain and poor function. The paper states that synovitis is the initial issue in degenerative joint disease (DJD). The resulting inflammation triggers the rest of the degeneration that happens in the affected joint.

It would make sense since the synovium is the source of lubrication and nourishment for cartilage. Therefore, if a treatment could address the synovial inflammation, it might go a long way in reducing pain and healthier joints.

Further reading: Synovitis in Osteoarthritis: Current Understanding with Therapeutic Implications

Are there adverse effects?

None of the available materials and papers list any clinically significant adverse effects at this time. However, since the treatment is new, it’s essential to keep an eye on developments.

Naturally, as with any injections directly into a joint, it is essential to ensure sterility of the procedure not to introduce infection.

Further reading: Safety and Effectiveness of Synovetin OA®

My thoughts

I am instinctively skeptical about introducing foreign substances into my dog’s body. Further, I am cautious when I read about no side effects, adverse reactions, or incidental undesired effects.

I am more inclined to reach for cell therapies than nuclear medicine.

Nonetheless, I appreciate that treating elbow issues can be tricky, and I always lean toward less-invasive treatments. Short of cell therapies, Synovetin OA® is minimally invasive and with local effect. For this reason, it might beat NSAIDs, arthroscopies, and other surgical interventions.

Consequently, I would consider Synovetin OA® if my dog’s pain reduced their quality of life and I couldn’t control it with modalities I instinctively prefer.



The synovium is the inner lining of the joint that secretes the lubricating synovial fluid.

Synovial fluid

The synovial fluid is a joint lubricant and the delivery system for nutrients for cartilage.


Inflammation of the synovium

Related articles: Talk to Me About Dog Arthritis: Why Are My Dog’s Joints Painful? Canine Arthritis Strategies Roundup

Further reading: Synovetin OA

Categories: Alternative treatmentsArthritisConditionsDog health advocacyElbow dysplasiaJoint issues

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

  1. I’ve never heard of elbow arthritis in dogs. This new treatment sounds interesting and promising. I’m not one to be the first wave to try new medicinal products or even new technology gadgets. I usually wait a couple of years to see if any negative effects are found – it takes time for them to crop up and be recognized. But this does sound like it has some promise. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Synovetin OA seems like a great choice to help a dog with arthritis in the elbow. How does it compare cost wise to the other options?

  3. I am also skeptical about injection foreign materials into my dog’s system. I have pinned this post to revisit (likely in the not too distant future). Our little man is showing signs of arthritis and joint deterioration. In the meantime, I will try some of the other therapies you listed. We have a canine acupuncturist at a clinic nearby. Thanks, Jana.

  4. Synovitis can be very painful! Your posts help give dog owners different options to consider and talk to their vet about. Very interesting treatment, and I love that you give your honest opinion.

  5. Very interesting! I would have to put a lot of thought/research into it before opting to use a new type of treatment like this with my own dog, but it is so amazing to follow these types of medical advancements. Hopefully, the longer it’s in use, more is learned about potential side effects etc. Up to a year pain free with one injection/treatment is pretty amazing!

  6. Thank you, Jana, for your careful review. I am very concerned about the potential risks of this product, not only to pets but also to their people. It did not go through FDA review/approval because it is marketed as a veterinary device (and veterinary devices are not regulated). If memory serves me, with proper restrictions/distancing the radiation exposure is reportedly equivalent to about 10 chest x-rays. When it underwent review by the nuclear medicine authorities, the company suggested most people don’t co-sleep with their pets. I especially worry about children. Finally, it is, as you pointed out, long-acting… we must remember that with long-acting effects comes the potential risk for long-acting side effects.

  7. I find this really interesting. Our girl is living with arthritis right now and we have been able to mitigate it with the use of anti-inflammatories at this point if she’s having an overly busy/active day but I would definitely be willing to consider and look further into an option like this if find a time that her current regime isn’t work for her anymore!

  8. I like you am skeptical when they say no side effects and am trying to avoid all chemicals in Layla’s body especially with her age. Great post

  9. Wow! I never heard of Synovetin OA treatment before. When I read nuclear medicine I must admit my heart skipped a beat. Hmm… I think I’d have to agree with you that if I were in the position and needed to treat my dog, I’d use more holistic or traditional conventional medicine that’s been well documented and established.

    • There are times, however, when one might run out of options they like. I my dog was in severe pain I couldn’t manage otherwise, I’d consider this treatment.

  10. This seems like interesting new developments with possible great help for dogs with elbow arthritis. I think I might wait a bit and see what future research on this drug reveals before I would use it with my dog. But it is exciting new development for dog with no other options for their pain. Thanks for the update on this breakthrough.

  11. Medicine develops in new directions all the time and reading this was a real eye opener. We need to know more about these specialised treatments and understand them as much as possible because, one day, they be the one thing available that will keep our pets pain free.

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