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Canine Growing Pains: An Overview of Panosteitis in Dogs

by Geoff Works |

Does your pup limp whenever you take them on walks? Do they wince in pain if their legs are touched? Chances are, they may be suffering from canine panosteitis.

In this article, we will discuss all the things you need to know about panosteitis in dogs. You will discover its causes, symptoms, and ways you can help your pup recover from panosteitis.

What is Canine Panosteitis?

Canine panosteitis is a bone inflammation that occurs spontaneously in growing dogs. It commonly affects the long bones in the legs, making it hard for your dog to move. This condition targets the bones in the upper arm (humerus), thigh (femur), foreleg (radius and ulna), and lower rear leg (tibia).

This condition is also known as growing pains since it usually occurs in younger dogs aging between 5 and 18 months during their developmental stage. Large dog breeds tend to be more susceptible to this condition. 

If your dog has growing pains, it may feel pain and discomfort while walking or moving around. The pain can also shift from one leg to another and can affect one or more limbs. It can last for days or months, as long as your dog is growing. Luckily, this condition is self-limiting, meaning it will heal and subside over time.

What Causes Panosteitis in Dogs?

The cause of panosteitis in dogs remains unknown today. All we know is that it can occur on its own, even if your dog is perfectly healthy prior to the condition. Your dog can also experience other bone diseases alongside this condition.

However, several factors can lead to this disease. It can stem from stress, underlying infections, and immune or metabolic responses. Genetics also plays a huge factor in developing this condition, which is why larger dogs tend to have panosteitis more often than other breeds.

Canine panosteitis commonly occurs in German Shepherds, but it can also affect the following breeds:

  • Basset Hounds
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Great Danes

What are the Signs of Panosteitis in Dogs?

While this condition can gradually disappear on its own, your dog may still feel pain and discomfort in the process. It’s important to pay attention to the signs of canine panosteitis to help ease your dog’s pain.

The main symptom of dog panosteitis is an unexpected sudden lameness. Out of nowhere, your dog will have trouble walking with its front or back legs. Aside from this, you can also watch out for other symptoms such as:

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Pain in the affected legs (especially when touched)

It’s best to seek help from your vet as soon as you observe any of the following signs. This way, your dog can promptly receive care and prevent the condition from worsening. If it remains untreated, your dog can lose a significant amount of muscle mass and cause muscle atrophy due to prolonged muscle inactivity.

During your appointment with your vet, they will run a couple of diagnostic tests to determine the exact condition of your dog. This includes a run-through of your dog’s medical history, an orthopedic examination of the affected limbs, and radiographic images. Your vet will use the x-ray images to provide an accurate diagnosis of your dog’s condition, especially if there is any serious underlying condition apart from canine panosteitis.

How to Treat Panosteitis in Dogs

Fortunately, as mentioned earlier, this condition goes away on its own. As long as there are no underlying conditions, your dog will simply need enough rest and medication to help ease the pain. Once your vet has completed their diagnosis, they will recommend the following treatment measures:


Your vet will prescribe certain drugs to reduce the inflammation in the affected bones. Pain medication and anti-inflammatory drugs such as NSAIDs are often recommended to soothe your dog’s growing pains. They can also prescribe steroids, which can assist in alleviating some of your dog’s discomfort, as well as supplements to restore your dog’s joint health.

Limited Physical Activity

Aside from medication, your vet will also recommend restricting your dog’s physical activity. If your dog moves too much, it can place an immense amount of stress on the affected limbs and slow down the recovery process.

Letting them rest with minimal movement will allow their joints and bones to heal fully. It’s best to keep your dog in a safe and clean environment to maximize their rest periods. Once your dog reaches steady recovery progress, your vet may suggest physical therapy to get your dog’s bones moving.

Well-Balanced Diet

If your pup has canine panosteitis, there’s a chance that their appetite will decrease. This can reduce their weight and deprive them of the nutrients they need to grow. It’s essential to prepare nutritious and palatable meals for your dog to replenish the nutrients in their body. 

If you are not sure what to include in their meals, it’s best to consult with your vet so they can recommend healthy foods that can aid in your dog’s recovery.

Regular Trips to the Vet

It’s important to visit your vet regularly once the treatment process begins so you can monitor the progress of your dog’s condition. The ideal interval ranges from every two to four weeks. Your vet can shorten or extend this interval according to the severity of your dog’s condition.

Regular monitoring is essential in making sure that your dog is recovering at a steady pace. During your appointment, your vet will look into your dog’s health status to see if the bones and joints are healing properly. They may also check for any potential conditions that can hinder your dog’s recovery.

Manage Your Dog’s Canine Panosteitis 

Growing pains are a natural part of your dog’s development, but it inevitably causes them discomfort. Fortunately, you can help them recover from this condition. With proper medication, enough rest, and a well-balanced diet, they can regain their strength and move more comfortably.

Want to know more dog health tips and advice? Visit the Lick Sleeve blog today to learn more.

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