UPDATED: Merck's Bravecto, Bayer's Quellin chewables approved for dogs

Bayer's chewable Quellin (carprofen)--Courtesy of Bayer

Strides in soft chewable meds for dogs are going strong--Merck ($MRK) swept FDA approval for its flea and tick killing chewable, Bravecto, in May. Now, Bayer HealthCare has scored approval for the first chewable drug approved by the agency for treating osteoarthritis in dogs, a disease that accounts for pain in about 20% of canines older than one year.

Quellin (carprofen) is a meat-flavored nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that the company boasts as a palatable soft-chew therapy, launched on July 1. It is available in three different doses and the drug is indicated for pain relief related to canine osteoarthritis. The FDA also approved the chewable for controlling postoperative pain associated with soft tissue and orthopedic surgeries in dogs.

Bayer may end up facing competition from California's Kindred Biosciences ($KIN), which is waiting on FDA approval for its doggy drug for osteoarthritis--CereKin (diacerein)--that it developed based off studies from Amgen ($AMGN) and Pfizer's ($PFE) Enbrel. The startup expects to file a New Animal Drug Application for Cerekin this year.

Quellin was approved just a little more than a month after Merck's flea and tick killer Bravecto, which was launched on May 20. Merck's animal health unit markets Bravecto as an immediate solution that can last up to three months, and it comes in 5 different doses. The FDA also approved the chewable for treating flea-related dermatitis in dogs, and it is the longest-lasting flea and tick killer currently on the market. The flavored tablet bested Merial's NexGard, a chewable approved by the FDA last year to prevent and kill fleas and ticks for up to a month.

Both Quellin and Bravecto require veterinary prescriptions.

- here's the press release from Bayer
- and here's Merck's press release