This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.

You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.

Note for Pet Owners:
Panosteitis can be a difficult disease to diagnose because the lameness shifts from limb to limb and the early changes that are seen on XRays are difficult to interpret.

Topics on this Page:

Panosteitis literally means "inflammation of all bones". It is a debilitating disease which affects young dogs, and it can be distressing for the owner as well as the animal. Most animals will make a full recovery

Canine panosteitis is actually a disease of the fat tissue in the bone marrow which causes secondary changes to the bone. The precise cause of the disease is unknown, although it has been associated with excessive calcium intake.

Breed Occurrence
Canine panosteitis affects only large or giant breeds of dog, including the Airedale Terrier, Bassett Hound, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd Dog , German Shorthaired Pointer, Golden Retriever ,Great Dane, Irish Setter, ,Labrador Retriever, Miniature Schnauzer, Samoyed, St Bernard and Scottish Terrier.. Males are more commonly affected than females, and in females it often occurs in association with the first oestrus. The average age at first presentation is 5 - 12 months. The age of onset is therefore similar to that of other common conditions eg osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD).

The signs of panosteitis are sudden onset acute pain causing lameness which shifts from one leg to another. There is usually no history of trauma, and affected dogs are quite unwell, depressed and usually off their food. There is often acute pain when the affected bone(s) are pressed firmly.

The main complication of panosteitis is the difficulty clinicians sometimes have in diagnosing the condition because the XRay changes can be quite subtle in the early stages.

The disease can be recognised on Xrays and occasionally it occurs at the same time as other diseases eg ununited anconeal process, OCD, hip dysplasia etc.

On the XRay below a generalised "cottonwool" like increase in density in the middle of the medullary cavity of the humerus can be seen (adjacent to the label D)

Treatment is needed for the symptoms ie anti-inflammatory drugs and pain killers.

In most individuals the condition is self-limiting, and even the changes seen on Xray return to normal after 70-90 days. 

Long term problems

In a few individuals recurrence may occur.

Updated October 2013