Panosteitis in Dogs


Panosteitis or "Pano" is a growth issue commonly found in large breed dogs.

Because they grow rapidly in their first year, German Shepherds, and other large breeds are at risk for this painful condition. This causes spontaneous limpness in one or more legs and can cycle throughout the limbs.

It can show up in puppies as young as 6 months but does not usually occur after 18 months.

What is It?

An inflammation of the long bones. Often referred to as "growing pains," the condition begins in the growth plate in fast growing dogs. Once the dog has reached full growth, there is no longer any conflict in their growth plates.

Be aware that it can appear in one leg, disappear, and then later show up in another leg.

What Causes It?

When a dog is growing too quickly, the growth plates often cannot keep up with the demands placed on them. It has been speculated that grain plays a large contributing factor.


Symptoms of panosteitis include pain and/or limping in any of the legs.

How is it Diagnosed

The only way to truly diagnose Pano is with x-rays. A vet that specializes in canine orthopedics would be your best bet. The film can be difficult to read for vets that are not well versed in Pano.

Treatment of Panosteitis in Dogs

The best thing to do is switch to a quality adult dog food to slow down the growth. Avoid commercial dog food. Many breeders swear in the use of a raw food diet for preventing Pano. Food plays a large role in skeletal growth and development, so choose the diet wisely.

Ascription is often given. This can be obtained from the pharmacy and is a nonprescription aspirin mixed with Maalox. For cases that are not so severe, this works well.

Some vets may prescribe Rimadyl. Think long and hard before administering this. It is an expensive drug that is not without side effects. And Pano is self limiting, meaning that it eventually disappears, with or without treatment.



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