Panosteitis is a spontaneously occurring lameness that usually occurs in young large breed dogs, with German Shepherd seeming to be particularly predisposed to this condition. Due to this, it is possible that the disease may have genetic causes. Some veterinarians feel that stress may exacerbate disease..
Affected dogs aretypically in the 5 to 14 month age range, placing the disease is the class of growth related skenetl disorders, and male dogs are more commonly affected than female dogs. The disease has been reported in dogs as young as 2 months and can occur in young mature dogs a old age 3 years. The lameness tends to occur rather suddenly, usually without a history of trauma or excessive exercise. In most cases one or the other front leg is affected first and then the problem tends to move around, making it appear that the lameness is shifting from leg to leg. There are often periods of improvement and worsening of the symptoms in a cyclic manner. This makes evaluation of treatment difficult since many dogs will spontaneously without treatment and then relapse.
X-rays usually reveal that the bones have points of radiolucency (darkness), indicating less bone density than is normally found, a phenomena that many vets refer to as “thumb print” lesions. If pressure is applied over the long bones, pain is usually present. It should be noted, however, that with panosteitis, x-rays and clinical signs often do not match.
In most cases, the most significant pain lasts between one and two months but may persist in a cyclic nature for up to a year. Treatment usualyl consists o fweight management, and treatment with a safe and effective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as Previcox, Deramax, or Metacam. In severe cases, corticosteroids may be necessary to provide relief.
Currently, it is believed that restricted protein, restricted calcium diets may help to prevent this condition, or lessen its clinical severity. The is a matter still very much under debate, with most evidence of its legitimacy based on theory and anecdotal evidence. Many vets recommend applying this premise by feeding large breed puppies puppy food only until 7 months of age, rather than 1 year of age, as most puppy food labels recommend.
This condition is self limiting, meaning that it will eventually go away, with or without treatment. Therefore, treatment is geared solely toward control of pain and inflammation.
By: Roger L. Welton, DVM
President, Maybeck Animal Hospital
CEO, Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care
Article Updated 5/23/2014
My 7 month old male Golden Retriever presented a month ago with front leg lameness without trauma. After examination by my vet, including x-rays of all limbs and joints, which were read by a veterinary radiologist to be normal. Harley was placed on activity restrictions and was given a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory. We are now on the third week of treatment without any improvement. My vet mentioned pano, possible tick bite among other things. What course do you recommend moving forward? Thx in advance, D