Q: My 1-year-old basset hound seemed to be walking on eggshells, as though every step hurt. His veterinarian diagnosed growing pains and prescribed pain medicine, which is helping. Please tell me about growing pains in dogs.
A: Growing pains, also called panosteitis or just pano, are caused by inflammation (-itis) of every part (pan-) of a bone (-oste-). Pano develops in dogs from six to 18 months old and sometimes recurs intermittently until 2.5 years of age when the dog’s skeleton is mature—thus the name “growing pains.”
The cause is unknown, though pano may be partially inherited, as it occurs most often in large and giant breeds, particularly German shepherds and basset hounds. The disease develops four times more often in males than females.
The clinical signs may include mild to severe lameness, reluctance to move, decreased energy and appetite, and sometimes fever. The physical exam and a distinctive appearance on radiographs (x-rays) help make the diagnosis. And a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain reliever eases the discomfort.
Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.