Panosteitis in Puppies:
Panosteitis, also known in short-hand as pano in puppies, is a relatively common and relatively minor cause of puppy lameness.
How common is Panosteitis?
Panosteitis is a relatively common orthopedic condition seen primarily in young, rapidly growing, large breed dogs.
How long do growing pains last in puppies?
Most affected dogs recover without treatment by two years of age. Until then, episodes of lameness may occur with varying degrees of severity and for varying lengths of time. These episodes may occur at irregular intervals two to three weeks apart and may last from several days to several weeks to months.
Panosteitis Symptoms in Dogs
Panosteitis is most commonly seen as an acute lameness, primarily in large breed male dogs at the peak of their growth phase. One hallmark of panosteitis is “shifting-leg” lameness, meaning one time you look at him and you think he is limping on his left rear leg, and the next time it looks like his right front leg is the one bothering him. Canine panosteitis is usually considered a self-limiting disease, meaning by around one year of age, five years in some breeds, the puppies usually outgrow it.
Causes of Canine Panosteitis
An underlying cause is thought to be feeding a protein-rich, high-calorie food. Sometimes, just changing the puppy to a less “hot” diet, like an adult maintenance diet, will allow the disorder to resolve.
Diagnosing Pano in Dogs
Panosteitis is diagnosed on physical examination, X-rays, breed, sex, age, eliminating other disorders as causes of puppy lameness, and response to treatment as well as noting and monitoring the shifting leg lameness. On physical examination, pain is usually elicited by putting pressure on the portion of the bone where the blood vessel enters the bone. This helps to distinguish panosteitis from other disorders that involve joint pain.
X-rays, particularly if taken shortly after symptoms develop, may not show typical changes. One of the most valuable uses of X-rays is to make certain there is no other reason for lameness, such as a fracture, OCD lesion, or other orthopedic disorder.
Treatment of canine panosteitis involves the use of pain relievers, usually non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. If your puppy is running a fever or is not responding to treatment and rest, corticosteroids may be required. Many puppies will respond, and then have relapses up to about one year of age. With patience and an adult dog food, most puppies will return to normal by the time they have reached their full adult skeletal size.
If you have a specific question about your puppy’s health, reach out to your veterinarian.
The materials, information, and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your personal veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy, or medical attention.