Panoesteitis in Labs
By Paula Roberts
Panosteitis may persist for one to twelve months; the average cycle is two to three months, with the worst pain usually lasting one to two months. It affects mostly young, growing dogs, usually between five and twelve months. However, it has been seen in dogs as young as two months and as old as 5 years. It is seen more often in males than females.
The veterinarian will use X-rays to rule out other causes of lameness or confirm the diagnosis. In affected dogs, the bones seem to have a greater density than what is usually found: formation of bone within the marrow cavity may appear as areas of increased density on diagnostic films. However, there appears to be no real relationship between the severity of the lesions on x-rays and the acuteness of the lameness.
The intermittent character of the disease makes both assessment and treatment difficult: symptoms appear and disappear spontaneously, with or without treatment. Treatment regimes used to involve total restriction of exercise (ie, crating)-but it is now understood that this practice retards muscle development. Therefore, exercise must be limited during painful periods, but not during non-painful periods. Special care must be taken to restrict roughousing with kennel mates and other canine friends. The dog must not run wild: activity should be monitored and controlled. The dog may be walked on a flexi, ideally not on pavement but on grass. Swimming is fine, since it puts little pressure on the joints. Analgesics such as aspirin or bufferin may be given prior to any physical activity to combat and ease inflammation. However, never give ibuprofen, as this may cause stomach ulcers in dogs. The vet may also recommend phenylbutazone or corticosteroids in the most severe cases.
Some vets may suggest a special diet in some cases: today, many dog food manufacturers are offering large-breed puppy formulas, to reduce the overly rapid growth of bone tissue. Some people believe that a low protein, low calcium diet may prevent panosteitis. However, the energy level of low protein/calcium diets is often lower as well: therefore, a puppy will require much more of the diet to meet its energy needs, and this will result in higher total calcium consumption. Rather than feeding a low protein, low calcium adult food, feeding lesser quantities of the puppy food and keeping the dog lean may be more advantageous. Cut back daily food intake by ½ a cup. Daily supplements of the Chondroitin, Glucosamine sulfate and DiCalcium Phosphate may also help.
The good thing about panosteitis is that it is a temporary condition. It is, “growing pains” that the puppy will, well&outgrow. The thing to remember is that keeping then puppy lean, all the while not letting him play too boisterously (especially in a kennel setting) may help to prevent or at least minimize the effects of this disorder.