Saturday, March 22, 2008

Growing Pains

Recently a visitor to this blog contacted me asking about Savage's hypertrophic osteodystrophy, and if I truly believe that diagnosis. First of all, based on his symptoms and clinical signs, I have no reason to believe that this "disease" is anything more than another episode of panosteitis (also known as "wandering lameness"), which my dane was diagnosed with last summer. On August 15th of 2007 I explained his original pano episode and treatment:

"At the same vet appointment she addressed my main concern, which was limping affecting Savvy's right back leg. This had been going on for a few weeks, with one episode where he wouldn't put any weight on the leg at all. It was possible for me to gently feel along his leg, hip, and joints, with no pain or discomfort for him. However, as his vet palpated the long bone in his lower leg (shin area) his pain was obvious to both of us. Savvy was diagnosed with panosteitis and given a cycle of anti-inflammatory pills called Deramaxx.
Panosteitis is an inflammation of the long bones in growing pups, and doesn't normally occur in dogs as old as Savvy. The good news is that it will eventually go away on it's own. Because he is no longer limping and doesn't seem to be in any pain at all, I decided not to give him the pain pills. I generally don't like to put any medication into my doggie's body that is not absolutely necessary. I've been limiting his exercise a bit, and keeping his diet the same. Savage is now acting completely normal and I'm keeping my fingers crossed."

After his vet appointment of February 5th, 2008, I expressed a bit of frustration concerning his doctor's decision to treat Savage for HOD, even though his x-rays didn't show anything out of the ordinary. At that point I was "...inclined to think that this limping may just be a continuation of Savvy's pano, albeit more severe." I still believe that because Savage never had some of the classic symptoms of HOD, including swollen joints, fever, lack of appetite, etc.
After much research on the internet, and talking with other dog owners, I've found that some vets immediately make presumptive diagnoses in cases involving certain breeds because of the overwhelming prevalence of certain illnesses in those breeds, perhaps overlooking a simpler but less serious condition. The great dane breed in general is known to have some health concerns which a dane owner and his/her vet should be aware of and watch out for, and HOD being one of these, it seems easy to assume the worst when dealing with a limping dane. Pano and HOD are both classified as conditions affecting long bones during rapid growth phases, and danes seem to be predisposed to both. The good news is that these diseases are usually self-limiting, and with treatment the affected dog can recover completely, though at least regarding pano, relapse can sometimes occur (as in Savvy's case).
To sum things up: In my opinion my Savage was mis-diagnosed with hypertrophic osteodystrophy. At this point he seems healthy and active, with no more limping lately for the past couple weeks, so I am hoping that this episode of panosteitis was the last.


  1. Our Girl Blue said...
    Paula- we're all so glad to hear that Savvy is doing better. He's such a handsome boy! Thanks for the updates and all the information - it's good to know what to be on the lookout for as Large Marge over here gets even larger. :)
    --Christy & Bella
    Abbey said...
    Paula go with your instincts girl, they havnt failed you yet. We give Chels 2 tablespoon of applecider vingar (50/50 with honey) each day for joint inflamation.

    The Apple Cider Vinegar helps keep
    the calcium intake in a soluble state so it can be more easily absorbed into the system. It also helps dissolve and flush out acid crystals that build up
    in the muscles and joints.

    I got this from Sunstrike Great Danes.. She wrote a bit on Pano

    She has a downloadable book but Ive lost the link...

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