Panosteitis in the
GSD is very common in large breed dogs -
German Shepherd, Rottweilers, Great
Danes Golden Retrievers,
Dobermans and Labrador
Retrievers are just a few of the breeds
most commonly affected.
It often happens between the ages of
6 to 18 months, though middle-aged
German Shepherds can sometimes have a
bout of pano. AKA: "Pano" can indeed be
a very difficult
disease to diagnose.
It is characterized by lameness that
comes and goes from day to day and
changes from leg to leg - and is not
associated with any kind of trauma or
Quite literally, "pano" means
"inflammation of all bones" even though
the precise cause of the disease is
unknown. I have also heard it compared
to the "growing pains" that often
happens in human teenagers and this
seems to be a very accurate analogy.
Panosteitis in the GSD can be
debilitating but with proper care
dogs will make a full recovery. For some
reason males are more commonly affected
than females with Panosteitis.
Additionally, when it does occur in
females it often happens in association
with the first heat cycle.
Panosteitis in the GSD can be painful
and can last as long as 18 months.
Usually though, most pano "attacks" last
from 2 to 3 weeks. On a good note, this
disease is self-limiting and there are
very few long-term
effects or need for
further treatment once it has run its
Diagnosis of Panosteitis in the
Whenever a dog is suspected of having
panosteitis individual x-rays will be
taken to confirm the diagnosis in the
unaffected limbs. A subtle increase in
bone density is observed in the center
part of the affected bones.
Later on the bone will become more
patchy or mottled in appearance and the
outer surface of the bone may appear
roughened while later on, the affected
bone will still be slightly mottled, but
eventually begin to return to a more
Symptoms of Panosteitis in the GSD
Panosteitis symptoms include: sudden
pain causes lameness
which can shift from one leg to
The dog may show a reluctance to walk
or exercise. Also, there can also be
acute pain when the affected bone(s) are
German Shepherds affected are with Pano
are often very depressed and can go off
Occasionally some affected dogs will
additionally have an elevated white
blood cell count, a fever, or
Treatment of Panosteitis in the
Since pano is often quite painful,
painkillers such as buffered aspirin or
Rimadyl are usually recommended
even though there is no specific
treatment for the disease. The treatment
can be symptomatic but the outcome is
usually very good.
Whenever I have a German Shepherd
suffering from a bout of pano I confine
them to as small an area as possible,
cut out all unnecessary exercise (other
than going out to the
and eating) and try to keep them as
quiet as possible for several days.
Supervised crating for small periods of
time may be necessary as well if your
GSD cannot relax or be calm on its own.
There is no known cause for Pano in
the German Shepherd Dog but diet is
thought to play a part as well. It has
not been shown to be genetic but I think
that heredity can't be ruled out at this
Overall the long-term prognosis for a
dog with panosteitis is very good.
Recurrence of clinical signs and
lameness is very common and possible up
until the GSD is two years of age. While
clinical signs of lameness and soreness
may last several weeks, complete
recovery from pano is typical.