What is Bone Inflammation (Panosteitis)?
Young, rapidly growing large breed dogs are predisposed to bone inflammation. The bones most affected by this condition are the ulna, radius, humerus, femur and tibia, with the disease starting it’s progression in the forelegs. Characterised by sudden lameness, your dog may appear to be in pain and favor one or more legs. The pain can last from a few days to a few weeks. There can be lapses in the symptoms, even as much as a month or two. Treatment varies and can involve anti-inflammatories and pain relief.
In veterinary terms, bone inflammation is known as panosteitis. Young, large breed dogs are most often affected by the disease. Typically, the inflammation of one or more of the long bones in a young dog will occur spontaneously and intermittently up to the age of five years, but resolves most often around the age of 18 months, however, it is very curable and the prognosis is favorable.
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Symptoms of Bone Inflammation (Panosteitis) in Dogs
A dog with bone inflammation will present with acute lameness brought on suddenly. The lameness can range anywhere from mild to severe. As is the case with any lameness in your pet, do not delay in making an appointment with your veterinarian, in order to relieve your pet of pain, and to rule out any underlying factors that may be in place.
- Pain upon palpation of limb
- Weight loss
- Poor appetite
- Resistance to exercise
The disease is also known as juvenile osteomyelitis (inflammation of bone), enostosis (bone lesion), eosinophilic (inflammatory) panosteitis, and canine panosteitis.
Causes of Bone Inflammation (Panosteitis) in Dogs
Studies show there are varying causes for bone inflammation. The lameness that your dog can exhibit can be caused by the following.
- Increasing pressure inside of the bone
- Stimulation of pain receptors in the soft tissue lining of the diseased bone
- Autoimmune components
- Rapid growth
- High-protein, high-calcium diet
- Change in bone density
- Males are more prone
- German Shepherds, Scottish Terriers, Great Danes, St. Bernards, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, German Shorthaired Pointers, Irish Setters, Airedales, Samoyed, Doberman Pinschers, Miniature Schnauzers, and Basset Hounds are genetically predisposed.
Diagnosis of Bone Inflammation (Panosteitis) in Dogs
The veterinarian will take a medical history survey of your beloved pet when you arrive at the clinic. She will ask about his physical activity as of late and whether he shows any limitations. Panosteitis could be suspected if your dog exhibits pain when pressure is applied to the limb.
The diagnosis could be reached after radiographs are done on the limbs, which typically will show an increase in the density of the affected bones. The radiographs might not show evidence of the condition for up to ten days after lameness begins so repeat x-rays could be needed 2 weeks later to definitively confirm the diagnosis of panosteitis.The imaging results can look different from week to week as the episodes of lameness come and go. Radiographs are important as they can also rule out other conditions such as bone disease. Other disease processes like hip dysplasia and bursitis can accompany bone inflammation.
Treatment of Bone Inflammation (Panosteitis) in Dogs
Fortunately, this disease can resolve by the time your dog reaches the age of two years though cases have been known to last up to five years. In the meantime, your veterinarian will prescribe pain medication, anti-inflammatories and, if necessary, corticosteroids to treat severe pain.
Recovery of Bone Inflammation (Panosteitis) in Dogs
It is recommended to feed a dog who suffers from panosteitis a good quality diet which will help him to maintain a healthy weight. Vitamin C and Omega 3 supplements are a good idea, as is moderate exercise only, and limited exercise during episodes. Keep your veterinarian informed about the physical health of your dog. Consult the clinic immediately if the lameness becomes severe or does not relent as per the usual time frame.
Bone Inflammation (Panosteitis) Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
How do I help my pup with pain at home? I need to make him an appointment with the vet soon but he has been crying all night. Since he was younger he’d switch up a leg he limped on in his back legs but we didn’t think anything of it. We eventually took him to the vet because he started limping bad on his front leg and they gave us anti inflammatory medication for a week and he was fine after. Now he’s been limping on him front leg for a about a week and now he’s also limping on his back leg tonight and is crying and it’s so sad seeing him in this pain. Our vet is not open until Monday.
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My German Shepard female is 2.5 years old. She has pain walking up the stairs, which appears to be in her back legs. She is active but jumping up too is a problem. My doctor said she has panosteitis, but I’m not comfortable with the diagnosis. Its difficult for me to go for a second opinion when my initial visit cost me over $500. The treating doctor said she did not have any signs of hip dysphasia, however when I called back; I was told she had a mild case; but that wasn’t the issue. My dog is getting worse and I’m not sure what to do.
I have a 3.5 month chocolate lab pup who was diagnosed with this last week. Since he has started showing symptoms he has not walked more than a few feet. Is this normal and if so how long should we expect him to be like this?
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If a dog with Panosteitis is favoring other legs and doesn't use his lameness foot as much, wouldn't the dog need some physical therapy as a treatment as well? Or does that depend on how long and/or severe the pain is?
Panosteitis is self-limiting disease of the bones (usually long bones of the limbs) in young dogs from six to eighteen months of age. The condition may be caused by infection, metabolic disease, stress, autoimmune disease or genetic. Panosteitis is medically managed (for the dogs comfort) by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids. Physiotherapy wouldn’t be effective in cases of panosteitis because there is no joint involvement. Once Daisy has stopped growing, the condition will spontaneously resolve regardless of treatment. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
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