Canine panosteitis, often referred to as “pano”, is an inflammatory bone condition that affects young, rapidly growing dogs. It’s most commonly seen in medium and large breed puppies between the ages of five and twelve months, but it can occur in other breeds and at other stages of life. Symptoms include intermittent lameness, fever, fatigue, pain when pressed on the affected area, and limb swelling.
The cause of panosteitis is still unknown but it’s believed to be an inflammatory response to rapid bone growth. Treatment typically includes rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and sometimes surgery. It’s important to have your pet examined as soon as possible if you think that they might have pano, because early diagnosis and treatment can lead to a much better outcome.
Symptoms of Canine Panosteitis
Symptoms of panosteitis include:
- Intermittent lameness
- Pain when pressed on the affected area
- Limb swelling
Symptoms can come and go in cycles where a dog might be fine for a few weeks before symptoms return. Lameness is often seen in one limb first, but can move to other areas of their body as the condition progresses. The severity of their symptoms can vary from mild to severe.
Diagnosing Canine Panosteitis
Diagnosing panosteitis can be difficult because the symptoms are often nonspecific and there is no definitive test for the condition. The veterinarian will typically review their full medical history, perform a physical exam, and order x-rays or other imaging tests to help confirm a diagnosis. Blood work might also be needed to rule out other potential causes of lameness or joint pain.
Stages of Canine Panosteitis
Panosteitis usually has three distinct stages:
The acute stage is associated with sudden lameness, fever, and pain. This stage can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.
The subacute stage is an inactive period where the dog might have no symptoms whatsoever or only have mild signs of pain and lameness. This can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.
The chronic stage is marked by intermittent lameness and pain that can last for months or even years.
Treating Canine Panosteitis
Treating panosteitis typically includes rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and sometimes surgery. Depending on the severity of their condition, your veterinarian could also recommend physical therapy or hydrotherapy to reduce inflammation and help your dog build strength in their affected limbs.
Preventing Canine Panosteitis
Unfortunately, there is no surefire way to prevent panosteitis. You can reduce the risk of your dog developing this condition by making sure they are getting a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs and avoiding activities that put too much strain on their joints and bones. It’s also important to make sure that your pet has regular checkups with their veterinarian so any potential problems can be caught early.