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Commonly referred to as “Pano” by breeders, this mysterious disease/disorder occurs when the normal process of bone degeneration and resorption fails to happen. As a result, there is an excess formation and thickening of bone, which commonly affects the long bones of either the front legs (humerous) or hind (femur or tibia) legs.

Panosteitis is thought to be a disease of the osteoblasts. Osteoblasts are the cells within the bone that form the tissue and minerals that give bones their strength. Pan (generalized)- os (of certain bones) – itis (inflammation). Therefore it is described as a generalized inflammation of certain bones, specifically it occurs in five of the long bones – the humerous, radius, and ulna of the foreleg, and the femur and tibia of the hind leg.

Males are reported to be of higher risk than females for panosteitis. There is a nearly 4:1 ratio of males to females affected by panosteitis with the clinical signs being more severe and the disease/disorder more nearly chronic in males.

Symptoms are usually a sudden intermittent lameness which may last a few days to several weeks and then shift to a different leg. The lameness may be mild to moderate and seems to be unaffected or unchanged by rest or exercise. Lethargy and loss of appetite may also occur. Typically it usually is seen first in a foreleg.

Diagnosis is usually done by a vet by pinching the middle of the shaft of the affected suspected bone. If a definite pain response if gotten, it is usually panosteitis. If the pain is at the distal end of the long bone, it could be HOD instead.

Age of onset is usually between 4 to 18 months of age.

Causes : although the cause is still unknown, it is thought by some that dogs that are fed a “rich” high protein diet are the ones that will come up lame first. Some breeds appear to be predisposed to panosteitis and those are large breeds where their growing occurs very quickly during the first year. It has been suggested that changing to a lower protein but still highly- digestible food has stopped the course of panosteitis. Growth rate is a possible factor. Interestingly enough, whenever vaccines, flea powder, worm medicine, diet and other environmental factors have been indicated, the common denominator was found to be physiological stress.

Panosteitis is a self-limiting disease meaning that it will “go away” whether it is treated or not.
It occurs only in dogs. Even though cause is unknown, it has been reported that high protein diets may make the symptoms worse and last longer.