What is Panosteitis?

Panosteitis or “Pano” is a common bone disease that can affect young, large breed dogs between 5 and 14 months of age, but sometimes has been found in dogs as old as 5 years. What is PanosteitisThe cause is unknown, but it is characterized by inflammation near the growth plates in the bone, and manifests with sudden, unexplained pain and lameness, sometimes shifting from one leg to the other.

The pain can last from 1 month to 6 months and usually affects the bones of the front legs.  This bone disease typically affects males more than females.

What are the Symptoms?

Symptoms include a sudden, unexplained pain in the legs or pain when the legs are touched; lameness for no apparent reason;  lethargic and lack of appetite; vomiting; high fever

Panosteitis can sometimes be referred to as growing pains and wandering leg lameness.  This lameness can last from a day to a few weeks and is characterized through switching leg lameness; one leg will heal, after that, another may be affected

This disease is more common in German Shepherd dogs or dogs which are mixed with this breed. Nevertheless, many other factors can be associated with pano: diet, viral illnesses, autoimmune problems, hyperestrogen, as well as vascular problems.

Panosteitis in Puppies

Since panosteitis can sometimes be difficult to diagnose, it’s important you get as much information as possible and understand what signs and symptoms you need to look out for.  The sooner you find out, the better as it will help your young dog or puppy navigate through this pain management process.

How is it diagnosed?

Diagnosis for panosteitis is done through x-ray where it will show an increased density in the cavity of the bone, often near where the vessels enter the bone.  Pano can sometimes be difficult to diagnose because the evidence may not be present until 7-10 days after the leg lameness has occurred.


Panosteitis is treated with pain medication, exercise restriction, and diet.  Medication may consist of an anti-inflammatory, non-steroidal drug or NSAID.  Some vets may recommend supplementing dogs with glucosamine and vitamin C or an anti-inflammatory drug to keep the dog comfortable.

There are no long-term effects with panosteitis and your dog will return to a playful pup when the pain subsides.  Never assume any symptoms are considered Pano and always check with your veterinarian if you have any questions.

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