Panosteitis or 'Pano'
Panosteitis is the correct name for what is often called 'puppy growing pains'.
the cause of many large-breed puppy growing pains.
It's most often seen in large and giant breed puppies who are between 6 and 18 months old, and male puppies are up to 4 times more likely to suffer from this canine bone condition than female pups.
The symptoms usually 'come and go' and may last for a month or two, or six (or even a year or more!), but on average a pup will experience symptoms for around 2 - 3 months.
The classic pano growing pains are caused by inflammation in the rapidly-developing long bones of the puppys' legs - most often in the front legs, and around the growth plates.
Many experts can't agree about what actually causes this inflammation and dog joint pain, but it is real condition and fairly common at that.
Panosteitis - What Breeds Are Most Likely to Suffer?
Pano is a bone condition that's most often seen in large, and giant breed pups - but it can occasionally appear in small breeds, and in older dogs.
Some of the breeds most likely to develop Pano include:
- Basset Hounds
- Doberman Pinschers
- German Shepherds
- German Shorthaired Pointers
- Great Danes
- Golden Retrievers
- Irish Setters
- St. Bernards
This condition was once so common in German Shepherds that it was called 'German Shepherd Dog Disease'.
However, it's also important to realize that not only purebred dogs are affected. Mixed breed puppies who have one or more of the above breeds in their genetic makeup can also suffer from Panosteitis and the resulting puppy growing pains.
Causes Of Panosteitis In Puppies
There are many theories as to what causes Pano including:
- Bacterial infection
- Viral infection
- Hormone imbalances
- Metabolic disorders
- Dietary or nutritional deficiencies or excesses
There also seems to be evidence of a genetic or hereditary component too, and puppies may inherit a predisposition to suffering from this canine bone disease.
The inflammation could be caused by any one, or a combination of, these factors and research is still being done to try to get more definitive answers.
Symptoms Of Panosteitis In Puppies
Symptoms of this condition are the classic 'puppy growing pains', and usually appear suddenly and 'out of nowhere' with no injury or apparent cause.
The most common symptom of Panosteitis is limping or lameness.
This is usually intermittent, last anywhere between a day and two weeks, and may affect one, two, or all your pups' legs at one time or another.
There is usually discomfort, or pain, accompanying this lameness or limping, and you may notice it more when your pup has been sitting or lying down in one position for a long time and gets up or starts to move around.
Limping may be more severe after exercise too, and your pup may show a lowered level of activity and even seem 'lazy' at times.
Sometimes there is a noticeable swelling of the leg joints. In canine pano, the most painful area of the bone is usually the center (midway between joints), rather than the joint itself or the extremity of the limb.
Although not as often seen as the above signs, other symptoms of Panosteitis in dogs can include:
- a low-grade fever
- loss of appetite
- enlarged tonsils
- raised blood cell count (response to inflammation/infection)
- reduced muscle mass in legs
Your veterinarian can make a diagnosis of Panosteitis from the symptoms you describe, a hands-on exam of your pup, and X-rays which should show signs of changes to the bones caused by this condition.
Although it's painful and can last for quite a long time, Panosteitis in puppies is almost always a 'self-limiting' condition - in other words, it gets better by itself eventually! Luckily there are also generally no long-term effects.
But, there are things that you can do to help your puppy feel more comfortable while he's experiencing these growing pains.
Anti-inflammatory medications and corticosteroids can help reduce swelling and inflammation, and in some cases pain medication for dogs such as Rimadyl may be prescribed. Painkillers such as Aspirin is also often used to treat Pano in puppies and reduce discomfort.
However, only give your puppy medication that has been prescribed or recommended by your vet. Never try to medicate with human products such as Advil or Tylenol as these are dangerous for your pup, and can even be fatal.
To learn more about the safe usage, and possible side-effects, of giving Aspirin to your Rottweiler, check out this webpage... Aspirin For Dogs
Your Rottweiler puppy, or whatever breed you own, needs plenty of rest to help his bones heal. It's a good idea to reduce his exercise levels and don't allow him to put too much stress on his growing bones/joints as that will only make the situation worse.
Making sure that you feed your large breed puppy a food that is specifically formulated for his unique dietary requirements can help to reduce bone and joint problems such as Panosteitis.
For pups with pano, you really want a dog food on the lower end of the protein scale, and don't overfeed as an excess of protein seems to make things worse.
This is a very important element of puppy care with large and giant breeds.
Note of Caution
It's always a good idea to have your vet examine a pup who is showing signs of pain or lameness, as there are other conditions which can cause these symptoms - most of them more serious than Pano.
In Rottweilers, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds and some other large breeds, canine hip dysplasia is fairly common and if your pup is having pain or stiffness in his rear legs, or an 'odd' gait, this needs to be ruled out.
Also, large breed puppies are notoriously clumsy and they can injure themselves fairly easily. Their bones and joints grow and develop rapidly and are at special risk of being damaged by excessive exercise, jumping etc.
Trauma or injury to the growth plate in a leg can cause the bone to stop growing, or to grow/develop incorrectly even if the injury itself heals up.
This is called 'Dog Angular Limb Deformity'. Your vet can take an X-ray to see if this is the cause of your pup's limp/pain and the sooner it's diagnosed the better the chances that your Rottie pup will make a full recovery and his limbs will develop normally.
So, please don't assume that your puppy has Panosteitis, have your vet confirm it for you.
Search here for more information on Rottweiler health, or anything else you want to know about this breed........
Canine Health Issues
Hip Dysplasia In Dogs
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