As dog grows, owners should specifically observe some changes and possible diseases that may occur in their fast growing dogs. One of most common sign is limping, and it can be caused by several problems associated with bones and bone growth. One of most common dog bone disease is Panosteitis or “Pano”. Panosteitis is also referred to as growing pains and wandering leg lameness. This lameness can last a day to a few weeks. Pano is characterized by shifting leg lameness; one leg will heal, then another may be affected. There are no long-term ill-effects from pano, but still needs enough attention and proper petsafe and care to prevent such diseases.
Panosteitis is commonly associated with large breed dogs and usually occurs in dogs 5 to 12 months of age, although it has been found in dogs as old as 5 years. Pano most commonly affects males by a ratio of 4:1. Females are most often affected around their first heat. These disease can be considered partially genetic since so many German Shepherd Dogs are prone to it. However, many other factors have been associated with pano: diet, viral diseases, autoimmune problems, hyperestrogen, and vascular problems. Other possible causes include nutritional derangements, immunologic disease, metabolic disease, and other viruses. In other words, no one knows what causes it. Some clinical signs were long bone pain, shifting leg lameness, fever, anorexia, lethargy. The common symptoms of Pano are Lameness that may shift from limb to limb, pain, fever, and loss of appetite.
Like many problems, pano may be difficult to diagnose. The dark patches may not appear on the x-rays. The lameness may not shift to another leg. It can be extremely frustrating with many bouts of radiographs. Assuming that the limping is caused by pano can help delay diagnosis of other more severe problems. Never assume that limping is caused by pano without having it properly diagnosed. This can be very scary to an owner who up until this point has had an agile giant puppy who loves to lope about the house at a full run! Pano is an inflammation of the bone itself and through radiographs (x-rays) a vet can often determine if this is indeed the problem a dog is experiencing. The dog normally limps on the affected limb and only rarely holds the limb to prevent any weight from being placed on it. It is often easily diagnosed with an x-ray; the lesion shows as the tell-tale dark patch on the bone. Pressure applied on the bone elicits a pain response. Currently, treatment consists of reduction of the percentage of protein in the dog’s diet and pain management through the use of buffered aspirin, Ascriptin, or Rimadyl, or steroids in severe cases. Restricting the dog’s activity has not been shown to have an effect on the healing process. Panosteitis is treated symptomatically. Rest on comfortable dog crates, exercise restriction, and pain medication are prescribed. Pain medication is usually a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID, such as aspirin, etodolac, or carprofen. Rarely, severely affected dogs may need more potent pain relief such as narcotic drugs.
Panosteitis is treated symptomatically. Rest, exercise restriction, and pain medication are prescribed. Pain medication is usually a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID, such as aspirin, etodolac, or carprofen. Rarely, severely affected dogs may need more potent pain relief such as narcotic drugs. Currently, a common rumor is that low protein, low calcium diets may prevent this condition. It should be noted that the energy level of low protein/calcium diets is often lower as well. If this is the case, a puppy will eat much more of the diet in order to meet its energy needs, resulting in higher total calcium consumption. It may be preferable to feed a puppy diet and restrict total quantity to keep the dog lean than to use a low protein/low calcium adult dog food. Some vets recommend supplementing dogs with high doses of MSM, glucosamine and vitamin C, others provide anti-inflammatories to keep them comfortable. Whatever route you go, keep exercise to a minimum and know that if it is indeed Pano, your dog will grow out of it and will soon be back to his limber self again! Because of the potential genetic link, breeding animals should be screened to ensure that they are not potential carriers of the disease. Despite the numerous puppy foods catering to large breed dogs, there is no current evidence that confirms that these foods will lower the incidence of the disease when compared to standard commercial puppy food. If an animal shows symptoms of the disease, they should be promptly diagnosed and treated and exercise and activity should be reduced until the symptoms have gone away.
There is also known method of preventing Panosteitis; however, many veterinarians believe the disease is made worse by calorie-dense diets and over-supplementation with calcium and phosphorus. Thus, a diet change to an adult formula, or a large breed growth formula, is recommended. The dog should be fed an amount that does not promote obesity or overly rapid growth. Calcium and vitamin supplements should also be avoided.
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