Panosteitis in Dogs

Overview of Canine Panosteitis

Panosteitis is an inflammation involving various layers of the bones of young, growing dogs. This condition occurs spontaneously and ultimately resolves on its own. Other names for panosteitis include enostitis, eosinophilic panosteitis, juvenile osteomyelitis and osteomyelitis of young German shepherd dogs.

The exact cause of panosteitis is unknown, but the disease tends to occur in large and giant breed dogs between five to 12 months of age. The German shepherd breed is most commonly affected. Males are more commonly affected than females. In females, the problem can be associated with coming into heat for the first time.

Panosteitis can cause severe lameness in more than one leg. The degree of pain may be such that the dog develops a fever, stops eating and starts to lose weight.

What to Watch For

Symptoms of panosteitis in dogs may include:

Diagnosis of Panosteitis in Dogs

Diagnostic tests are needed to recognize panosteitis and exclude other diseases that cause similar symptoms. In addition to obtaining a medical history and performing a thorough physical examination, tests or procedures that your veterinarian may wish to perform include:

Treatment of Panosteitis in Dogs

If panosteitis is diagnosed or highly suspected, treatment will consist of rest and anti-inflammatory pain-killers such as aspirin.

Home Care and Prevention

Home care is primarily aimed at limited your dog’s movement. Keep your dog quiet and rested in a small area of your home or in a crate.

A short course (seven to 10 days) of aspirin or another anti-inflammatory such as Rimadyl® or Etogesic® may be recommended. Do not administer any drugs that have not been prescribed by your veterinarian.

There is no way to prevent this problem from occurring. However, you should take comfort in the fact that this disease usually runs a short course and almost always disappears without specific treatment. It has an excellent prognosis.

Be prepared for the possibility that the clinical signs of pain and lameness may wax and wane, come and go, and shift around to different legs before it disappears entirely. It will usually resolve by the time your pet reaches maturity. Appreciation of the “shifting” nature of this disease will minimize your frustration when it reoccurs in another leg.

In-depth Information on Panosteitis in Dogs

Lameness in young, growing dogs may be caused by a number of diseases. Some of the more common causes of lameness in this age group are:

Veterinary care should include diagnostic tests and subsequent treatment recommendations.

In-depth Information on Diagnosis of Panosteitis in Dogs

Diagnostic tests are needed to recognize panosteitis and exclude other diseases that may cause similar symptoms. Many times the diagnosis is presumptive and response to treatment is the only way that the presence of the disease is actually “confirmed.” Tests or procedures that your veterinarian may wish to perform on your dog include:

In-depth Information on Treatment of Panosteitis in Dogs

Treatment for panosteitis in dogs may include the following:

Follow-up Care for Dogs with Panosteitis

After diagnosis, it is important to keep your dog quiet and rested for several weeks. Do not allow your dog to go up or down stairs or jump on/off furniture. To enforce rest, some dogs benefit from the use of a crate.

Allow your dog to go outside just to go to the bathroom (on a leash) and then bring him/her back inside the house.