Education Center

Juvenile Bone Disease

Category: Musculoskeletal

There are several bone diseases which are common in youngand growing animals. These include panosteitis, osteochondrosis, ununited anconeal process, fractured coronoid process, and osteochondritis dessecans (OCD). Often several of these diseases will be present simultaneously in the same animal.

Panosteitis is a common disease of the long bones in large breeds of young dogs, especially the German shepherd. Although this disease does cause severe lameness, it is self-limiting and there is no permanent aftermath. For this reason there has been relatively little investigation into the disease. Currently the cause of panosteitis is not known although infection, metabolic disease, endocrine dysfunction, allergy, autoimmune mechanisms, parasitism and hereditary factors have all been thought to be possible causes. Onset occurs in the first year of life and resolution usually occurs prior to 18 months of age.

Osteochondrosis is a defect in the growth and maturation of cartilage. It is seen in young and rapidly growing animals of many species. Bones in growing animals become longer and reach their final shape through a process of cartilage proliferation and subsequent hardening of the cartilage into bone. Defects of this process lead to several conditions including OCD, ununited anconeal process and fragmented coronoid process. It is common for an animal to suffer from several of these defects simultaneously. Fore limb lameness (may be severe) is the most common clinical sign of these conditions.

Diagnosis of juvenile bone disease is based on clinical presentation, orthopedic exam and diagnostic x-rays.

Panosteitis is treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs relieve the pain associated with the disease but do not “cure” the disease. Panosteitis is self-limiting and will go away on its own. Clinical signs (lameness) may persist for several months.

All of the conditions associated with osteochondrosis require surgical correction. Postoperative care at home is very important to the complete recovery of your pet.

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