Many veterinary NSAIDs are available for management of osteoarthritis. This study used a urate crystal synovitis model of lameness and evaluated the efficacy of firocoxib compared with carprofen, deracoxib, and meloxicam. The urate crystal model of lameness is often used to assess NSAID efficacy, and although the inflammatory response is an acute process, many components are similar to those of chronic conditions. This was a positive-control, blinded, 4-period crossover study using a randomized block design based on body weight. Baseline lameness was scored and was similar among the groups. Force plate gait analysis of ground reaction force (GRF) was used to assess efficacy within 24 hours after lameness induction. Fourteen hours after NSAID treatment, there was a significant difference between the lameness scores reported for each of the carprofen, deracoxib, and meloxicam groups relative to that treatment group's baseline scores. However, the difference in the lameness scores for the firocoxib group was not significant. Numeric values also indicated less lameness and more weight-bearing capacity in the firocoxib-treated group. Study funded by Merial

COMMENTARY: NSAIDs are available for practitioners from several classes that provide safe and effective control of pain associated with osteoarthritis. This study compared the efficacy of one of the newer NSAIDs, firocoxib, with others on the market. Firocoxib, a highly selective inhibitor of COX-2 developed specifically for veterinary use, compared favorably with carprofen, deracoxib, and meloxicam in controlling pain. Although there was no significant difference in efficacy among groups, the firocoxib group was the only one to show no significant difference between lameness at the peak of lameness effect and its own baseline score.

Efficacy of firocoxib in preventing urate-induced synovitis, pain and inflammation in dogs. Drag M, Kunkle BN, Romano D, Hanson PD. Vet Ther 8:41-50, 2007.