Pet Education

Browse our veterinary-reviewed Dog and Cat Illness Guide to learn more about pet health. Always talk to your veterinarian if you have a concern about your pet's symptoms or health.
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Canine Panosteitis

Panosteitis is a sudden, painful inflammation of the leg bones in growing dogs. It affects large-breed dogs, especially German Shepherds. It can occur in more than one leg at once, or it can move around, causing severe lameness from one leg to another. The pain can be so great that your dog may get a fever, stop eating, and lose weight.

Typically, an affected dog will have recurring episodes for an average of 2 to 3 months, at which point it will resolve on its own.


The underlying cause is currently unknown.


The most obvious symptoms are:

Other signs may include:

There will be periods of pain and periods of improvement.


To properly diagnose your dog with panosteitis, your veterinarian will perform the following:


The goal of treatment is to minimize pain until the panosteitis goes away on its own.

Your veterinarian may recommend:

The signs may come and go, and shift to different legs before it resolves completely.

Panosteitis can last from 2 to 5 months. If your dog has signs that last longer than 5 months, you should go to the veterinarian for a re-check.


There is no way to prevent panosteitis since there is no known cause.


Panosteitis always disappears without major treatment.

After it runs its course, there usually won't be any long-term side effects, and the patient will live an active, normal life.

Medically Reviewed by Sara Ochoa, DVM

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