San Antonio Zoo treats first exotic animal with Synovetin OA


A Komodo dragon at the San Antonio Zoo was the first exotic animal in the world to receive this innovative treatment that reduces inflammation in arthritic joints.

Bubba successfully receives Synovetin OA treatment for his arthritis (Photo courtesy of San Antonio Zoo).

Bubba successfully receives Synovetin OA treatment for his arthritis (Photo courtesy of San Antonio Zoo).

San Antonio Zoo recently transported a 27-year-old Komodo dragon, Bubba, to Sage Veterinary Imaging in Austin, Texas to receive Synovetin OA—a product used to reduce inflammation in joints and inhibit the cycle of pain and inflammation for up to 1 year.

“Bubba has severe arthritis,” said Jaime Sage, DVM, MS, DACVR, following the procedure, in an organizational release. “We’re happy to know Synovetin was successful in improving his mobility and making him more comfortable in his environment. He has more spring in his step these days.”

Over the past few years, Bubba, who weighs 175 lbs and measures 8 ½ feet, developed joint stiffness and tried other treatments including acupuncture to improve his range of motions. However, according to Tim Murrow, president, and CEO of San Antonio Zoo, his mobility gradually decreased even with his regular acupuncture treatments. Now with Synovetin, Murrow and the team at San Antonio Zoo have witnessed increased movements in Bubba who ventures across more areas in his habitat, plus they no longer hear his sounds of discomfort.

“We are excited to collaborate with the San Antonio Zoo on this exciting procedure–the first exotic animal to be treated with Synovetin,” John Donecker, VMD, MS, chief veterinary officer at Exubrion, maker of Synovetin, expressed in the release.

“For dogs—or Komodo dragons—with chronic elbow pain, Synovetin OA is a new, convenient, long-lasting and safe option. It treats the pain right where it happens and doesn’t go through the animal-like pills that can have side effects," he added.


San Antonio Zoo® Leverages New Therapy to Treat Arthritis in Komodo Dragon. News release. San Antonio Zoo. January 7, 2022. Accessed January 24, 2022.

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