Panosteitis in dogs

Panosteitis in dogs

What is Panosteitis?

Panosteitis is commonly referred to as “growing pains” and the problem is especially common in large breed puppies during periods when their long bones grow very rapidly. This exact cause of Panosteitis is not fully understood, but the disease normally goes away as the dog matures and the growth rate slows down. The condition can however be very painful for the puppy, and contacting a veterinarian is recommended if you suspect that your dog is suffering from Panosteitis. Panosteitis symptoms can also be confused with other skeletal and/or muscle problems.

Panosteitis causes pain and leg lameness for the dog and the problem will often shift from limb to limb. The condition affects the long bones found in the hind and forelimbs of the dog, especially the ulna, femur, humerus, radius, and tibia. Panosteitis affects puppies between the ages of 5 and 12 months. Panosteitis causes the marrow cavities of the long bones to become inflamed. 

As mentioned above, we still do not know the exact cause of Panosteitis. Some experts have suggested that the problem is ultimately caused by a virus, and distemper might be related to Panosteitis. Panosteitis might also be linked to an improper diet, metabolic problems, or even some sort of immunologic disease. As you can see, much more research is necessary before anyone can know for sure exactly why some dogs develop Panosteitis.

Breeds with a higher risk of Panosteitis

Large breeds have a higher risk of Panosteitis compared to small breeds. Panosteitis is especially common in German shepherds. Other examples of dog breeds where this condition is quite common are the Great Dane, the Doberman pinscher, the Labrador retriever, the Golden retriever, and the Scottish terrier.

Symptoms of Panosteitis in dogs

Common symptoms of Panosteitis in dogs are pain and lameness. Panosteitis can affect different bones at different times, and you might therefore notice how the problem shifts from limb to limb in your dog. Such a cycle of lameness can last from 2-3 weeks for each limb, and the dog will often experience periods when it has no apparent symptoms at all. A dog suffering from Panosteitis can develop a fever and nausea, become lethargic and lose its appetite.

Panosteitis treatment for dogs

Panosteitis is not cured surgically or by prescribing any particular drug; rest and exercise restriction is instead the normal treatment for dogs suffering from Panosteitis. If the dog is in a lot of pain, the vet can however prescribe a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (a so called NSAID) such as aspirin, carprofen, or etodolac to make the healing process more comfortable. In severe cases, narcotic pain medication may be necessary.

A dog with Panosteitis must be given plenty of rest, and the dog owner must make sure that the activity level of the dog is kept down. If you manage to keep the activity level of your dog down, the prognosis is very good. Most dogs recover from Panosteitis without any permanent effects. In a few dogs, Panosteitis will however come back again when they are mature.

Skeletal and muscular disorders in dogs: (click for more info)
Canine hip dysplasia
Congenital vertebral anomalies in dogs
Craniomandibular osteopathy in dogs
Elbow dysplasia in dogs
Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy in dogs
Hypertrophic Osteopathy in dogs
Legg-Calvé-Perthes syndrome in dogs
Luxating patella in dogs
Masticatory muscle myositis in dogs
Masticatory Muscle Myositis (MMM) and Extraocular Myositis (EOM) in dogs
Osteoarthritis in dogs
Osteochondritis Dissecans in dogs
Panosteitis in dogs
Spondylosis in dogs