Today we talk briefly about a pathology that is not very serious, but which frightens and confuses many people: panosteitis.

What Is

Panosteitis is an inflammatory disease of the medullary cavity of long bones. It is therefore an orthopaedic problem, mainly affecting very young dogs in the growth phase from 4 to 8 months, although cases have also been found in adult dogs.

Medium-large, large and giant dogs are the most affected. There is no breed predisposition, even if there is a high number of cases among the German Shepherds, Bassethound, Dobermann and Cane Corso.


The main symptom is acute lameness. The particularity that often confuses the observer is that it is a migrating limb limp from one limb to another, that is: one day it can limp from the left front leg, and the day after from the right front leg. Also the hind limbs are often involved, even if with less frequency.

Another rather common symptom is limb pain when it is manipulated, while symptoms such as fever, lethargy and anorexia are quite rare.

Diagnosis And Therapy

The diagnosis is made by means of an orthopaedic examination with possible confirmatory X-ray to exclude other pathologies with similar symptoms (hip or elbow dysplasia).

Panosteitis is a disease that tends to resolve spontaneously, i.e. without any pharmacological intervention. This does not mean that a visit to the vet is not necessary: the doctor will assess on a case-by-case basis whether or not it is appropriate to intervene depending on the seriousness of the situation.

If the puppy is seriously affected, anti-inflammatory drugs (cortisone or NSAIDs) are generally administered to relieve the discomfort and block the action of osteoblasts. It is also advisable to have a period of absolute rest or very limited physical activity.

The prognosis is generally very good, although it is likely that the convalescence period will last quite a while and the limp will move from one limb to another in the meantime.