Panosteitis is a spontaneously occurring lameness that usually occursin large breed dogs. German Shepherds seems to be particularly predisposedto this condition. Due to this, it is possible that the disease may havegenetic causes. Some veterinarians feel that this disease may be inducedor worsened by stress.
Affected dogs are usually in the 5 to 14 month age range and male dogsare more commonly infected than female dogs. The disease has been reportedin dogs as young as 2 months and can occur in young mature dogs. The lamenesstends to occur very suddenly, usually without a history of trauma or excessiveexercise. In most cases one or the other front leg is affected first andthen the problem tends to move around, making it appear that the lamenessis shifting from leg to leg. There are often periods of improvement andworsening of the symptoms in a cyclic manner. This makes evaluation oftreatment difficult since many dogs will spontaneously recover with orwithout treatment and then relapse.
X-rays usually reveal that the bones have greater density than is normallyfound. If pressure is applied over the long bones, pain is usually present.The X-ray signs do not always match the clinical signs.
In most cases, the worst pain lasts between one and two months but maypersist in a cyclic nature for up to a year. Analgesic medications likeaspirin can be be helpful. In severe cases, corticosteroids may providerelief.
Currently, a common rumor is that low protein, low calcium diets mayprevent this condition. It should be noted that the energy level of lowprotein/calcium diets is often lower as well. If this is the case, a puppywill eat much more of the diet in order to meet its energy needs, resultingin higher total calcium consumption. It may be preferable to feed a puppydiet and restrict total quantity to keep the dog lean than to use a lowprotein/low calcium adult dog food.
This condition is self limiting, meaning that it will eventually goaway, with or without treatment. Pain control can go a long way towardshelping your pet feel more comfortable and should be used, though.