Panosteitis, also known as 'wandering lameness', 'growing pains', eosinophilic panosteitis, and enostosis, is a disorder of skeletal development characterized by inflammation of the lining of the bone, with the thigh and upper arm bone being most frequently affected. The disease is marked by pain and lameness which may be accompanied by fever, muscle wasting, and unthriftiness. A dog can suddenly become reluctant to exercise and lose appetite. Pressure over the shaft of the affected bone elicits pain. The disease routinely affects multiple long bones for a period of weeks to months. The lameness shifts from one leg to another and may return to a previously affected leg. The German Shepherd Dog, German Shorthaired Pointer, St. Bernard, Basset Hound, Great Dane and Doberman Pinscher breeds at greater risk and male dogs are four times more frequently affected than females. Panosteitis rarely occurs after 18 tp 20 months of age.2 The cause of panosteitis is unknown, but there is a tendency for the disease to run in families. Some authors have suggested that dogs with panosteitis have defects in protein- or amino acid metabolism.3

German shepherd

The disease begins with death of adipose tissue in the bone marrow near nutrient foramen of a long bone. X-rays show the characteristic picture of increased density in a long bone.

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Treatment is directed at the relief of pain. Buffered aspirin is usually an analgesic of choice. Restricting exercise is recommended to prevent flare-ups of inflammation. Most dogs recover spontaneously, but if severely affected, may never regain full muscle strength. Once an individual bone recovers, the condition usually does not reoccur in that limb.


  1. The Dog: Its Behavior, Nutrition and Health. Linda P. Case
  2. Textbook of Small Animal Surgery. Douglas H. Slatter (editor)
  3. Canine panosteitis--an idiopathic bone disease investigated in the light of a new hypothesis concerning pathogenesis. Part two: Biochemical aspects and investigations. Schawalder P, Jutzi K, Andres HU, Blum J.

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