Could Raw have Caused Panosteitis?

This is a dedicated place for all of your questions and answers about Raw Diets. There are also some really cool groups like "Raw Fed" on the topic you can join. This forum is for people who already know they like the raw diet or sincerely want to learn more. Please remember that you are receiving advice from peers and not professionals. If you have specific health-related questions about your dog's diet, please contact your vet!

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Marlowe, RN,- CGC

Seize life by- the big stick!
Barked: Thu Jun 3, '10 7:39am PST 
Marlowe and I just got back from the vet, and he thinks my baby boy may have Panosteitis. frown He started favoring his back left leg on Tuesday afternoon while we were out for a walk, but I thought he might've just pulled a muscle jumping out of the car or something. So, he's been taking it easy, but it's not been getting any better. This morning, he was in so much pain that he didn't want to eat breakfast, and he just wandered around the living room, laying down, whining, getting up and moving, laying down, whining....on and on and on. So off to the vet we went.

My first thought was Lyme disease (we know we have it in the yard; hubby caught it a couple months ago), but the tick panel came back negative, and he doesn't have a fever. From the little bit of reading I've done, Pano seems to fit. He's the right age, right size, and he just went through a growth spurt (he's gained 5 lbs in the last week). We got some pain meds, and he's going to be on bed rest for a week, but I'm still worried.

Have any other raw feeders had this problem? Does anyone have a really good study on Pano? All I can find online is a bunch of inconclusive results, but one of the risk factors seems to be a high-protein diet. I'm worried that I should switch him to a lower-protein diet until this passes. thinking
Delta Force- CGC RN NA- RL1

Raw Fed and- Happy
Barked: Thu Jun 3, '10 7:57am PST 
Marlowe, raw is the lowest protein diet you will find. When you take out the moisture, your content is only going to be about 15-18% protein... while dog food is going to be at least 21% if you change... I have never heard of this, so I'm going to try and read up some on it...

The world is my- food bowl!
Barked: Thu Jun 3, '10 8:02am PST 
Never heard of this one, had to do a good reading on it. Very sorry you're going through this, sweet Marlowe... This is what I found on causes:

"The cause of panosteitis is currently unknown. There have been many theories as to the cause of this disease. Originally, it was suspected that the disease was caused by a bacterial infection. However, several investigational studies failed to isolate any bacteria. In addition, the disease responds poorly to antibiotics, further suggesting a cause other than bacterial.

Other studies showed that if bone marrow from affected dogs was injected into the bones of healthy dogs, the healthy dogs would contract the disease. It has therefore been speculated that a virus may cause the disease. The high fever, tonsillitis, and altered white blood cell count would also go along with the viral theory. Another interesting twist to the viral theory is that panosteitis was first identified as a problem at the same time that modified live distemper vaccines became widely available on the market. Since wild distemper virus can be isolated from bone tissue, some researchers feel that there might be a link between distemper virus vaccine and panosteitis, however, more research in this area will need to be done before any serious speculations can be made.

Another theory is that panosteitis might have a genetic link. Because of the greatly increased incidence in certain breeds and families of dogs, it is very likely that there is a genetic component involved in this disease.

Lately, there have been some claims that nutrition, particularly protein and fat concentrations in the diet, may have an impact on the incidence of the disease. But here again, more research needs to be done to substantiate these claims. Most likely this is a multifactorial disease that has several different causes including viral, genetic, and possibly nutritional."


Bacterial, no.
Vaccine related, possibly.
Genetic, possibly.
Nutrition, possibly but not probably.

I haven't found any other sites that show ACTUAL causes, it seems like a mystery. However, Marlowe, the protein concentration in raw is really not very high at all. Yes, it's all meat, but fat and moisture also come into play. Yes, some dogs handle raw in a negative way and we as owners have the possibility of screwing up our dog's nutrition by doing it wrong, but I really doubt this is the case in your situation. The way I see it, I doubt that every wild wolf and dog out there gets panosteitis in it's lifetime. I really think there is another underlying cause, it's just unknown at the moment.

Tucker, CGC,- TDI

Bloggin' Dog
Barked: Thu Jun 3, '10 8:06am PST 
Aww, I'm sorry Marlowe! frown

Honestly, I don't see how raw could be implicated in this at all. A friend's GSD went through this, though his started when he was a little older, maybe eight months or so, and though it was trying in terms of limiting his exercise and making sure he rested that leg (it was one of his forelegs, though, not a rear), he is fine now that he's passed out of that age bracket. It did pop up two or three times though from say nine months to two years of age. He's four now, and completely sound.

I did read something that said lower protein is best, which may seem, then, like a raw diet would be contraindicated, BUT as has been discussed before when you take into account the water content, the levels fall right back in line.

Meanwhile, it's really just rest, which is tough when you've got a puppy. Also, my friend's vet told her not to crate him, either, so I'm not sure how that will work out for you if he is still in heavy duty teething/destructo mode. Perhaps upsizing his crate might be a good idea, though, so he can really stretch that leg out. I'd bet he's a good swimmer, so perhaps that can be his exercise outlet for now. Hope he feels better soon! hug
Chloe,- KPA-CTP

Clearance Puppy - The best of them- all.
Barked: Thu Jun 3, '10 8:48am PST 
Marlowe, I would go to the RawChat Yahoo group, Someone was talking about this about a month ago.. I'll try to find something in archives.

They said that raw WAS NOT the cause of pano.
Bam-Bam, CGC

Lil' Rubble
Barked: Thu Jun 3, '10 11:07am PST 
All the raw-feeding breeders I've talked to tend to have slower, more evenly growing pups and they attribute this to raw. Because of my own personal experience of having raised Reyna on it, I am naturally a bit more skeptical and less likely to believe that the issue is raw.
Also, the stuff you're reading about high protein is outdated. We now know that there is no such thing as protein in excess for a dog.
Were you feeding lots of variety? Giving the proper amount of organs? How long has he been on raw?
Did your vet do an x-ray to confirm pano?
Just a couple of quotes for you taken from Relationship of Nutrition and Skeletal Disease in Young dogs:
The energy needed for any individual depends on breed, age, neuter status, and activity levels. In general, growing puppies require twice as much dietary energy as adults for body maintenance, activity, and growth. The need is greatest right after birth and decreases as the dog grows and matures. Rapid growth in large and giant-breed dogs increases the risk of skeletal disease.4,5 Excessive dietary energy may support a growth rate that is too fast for proper skeletal development and results in a higher frequency of skeletal abnormalities in large and giant-breed dogs.7 Because fat has twice the caloric density of protein or carbohydrate, dietary fat is the primary contributor to excess energy intake.

Excess energy leads to rapid growth. Dietary energy in excess of a puppy's needs will be stored as body fat. Body condition scoring evaluates body fat stores and therefore correctness of energy intake. Maintaining appropriate body condition during growth not only avoids excess body fat storage, but also helps control excess growth rate. Limiting intake to maintain a lean body condition will not impede a dog's ultimate genetic potential. It will only reduce food intake, fecal production, obesity, and lessen the risk of skeletal disease.8 Energy or food-dose calculations can only be used as general guidelines or starting points that must be modified based on frequent clinical evaluation of each puppy because individual needs can vary widely. (Fig. 1). Physical evaluation or body condition scoring should be done at least every two weeks (See Evaluation of Feeding Methods and Scoring to follow). Protein

Unlike other species, protein excess has not been demonstrated to negatively affect calcium metabolism or skeletal development in dogs. Protein deficiency, however, has more impact on the developing skeleton. In Great Dane puppies, a protein level of 14.6% (dry matter basis) with 13% of the dietary energy derived from protein can result in significant decreases in bodyweight and plasma albumin and urea concentrations.9,10 The minimum adequate level of dietary protein depends on digestibility, amino acids, and their availability from protein sources. A growth food should contain > 22% protein (dry matter basis) of high biologic value (Table 1).11 The dietary protein requirements of normal dogs decrease with age.


The absolute level of calcium in the diet, rather than an imbalance in the calcium/phosphorus ratio, influences skeletal development.2 Young, giant-breed dogs fed a food containing excess calcium (3.3% dry matter basis) with either normal phosphorus(0.9% dry matter basis) or high phosphorus(3% dry matter basis, to maintain a normal calcium/phosphorus ratio) had significantly increased incidence of developmental bone disease.2 These puppies apparently were unable to protect themselves against the negative effects of chronic calcium excess.3 Further, chronic high calcium intake increased the frequency and severity of osteochondrosis.7

Often puppies are switched from growth to maintenance-type foods to avoid calcium excess and skeletal disease. However, because some maintenance foods have much lower energy density than growth foods, the puppy must consume more dry matter volume to meet its energy requirement. If the calcium levels are similar (dry matter basis) between the two foods, the puppy will actually consume more calcium when fed the maintenance food. This point is exemplified in the case of switching a 15-week-old, 15-kg male Rottweiler puppy from a growth food containing, on an as fed basis, 4.0 kcal/g metabolizable energy and 1.35% calcium (1.5% on a dry matter basis) to a maintenance food containing the same amount of calcium but at a lower, 3.2 kcal/g energy density. The puppy would require approximately 1,600 kcal/day. In order to meet this energy need the puppy would consume approximately 400g of the growth food (containing 5.4g of calcium) vs. 500g of the maintenance food (containing approximately 6.7g of calcium).

Feeding treats containing calcium and/or providing calcium supplements further increases daily calcium intake. Two level teaspoons of a typical calcium supplement (calcium carbonate) added to the growth food of the 15-week-old, 15-kg Rottweiler puppy would more than double its daily calcium intake. This calcium intake is well beyond the levels shown to increase the risk for developmental bone disease. A recent review article best sums up the need for calcium supplements: "Because virtually all dog foods contain more calcium than is needed to meet the requirement, the use of a calcium supplement certainly is unnecessary. Now that the deleterious effects of excess dietary calcium have been delineated, we can say that the feeding of calcium supplements not only is unnecessary, but, in fact, contraindicated!"8

Because these studies demonstrate the safety and adequacy of 1.1% calcium (dry matter basis) and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) minimum recommendation is 1% (dry matter basis, Table 1), we recommend that calcium levels for a growth food be within this range for at risk puppies, with no supplementation.
Marlowe, RN,- CGC

Seize life by- the big stick!
Barked: Thu Jun 3, '10 3:10pm PST 
Thanks for the responses everyone. I guess I assumed that the straight-up meat would be higher in protein, but after spending the afternoon looking up dietary info, it looks like raw really is lower than most dog foods. I do worry that my calcium is too high; I've been feeding more than 10% bone to keep Marlowe's stools firm, but I'm going to keep trying to crank it down. Another suggestion I found was to cut back on his food intake and let him lose a little weight to take pressure off his bones. Darnit, just when he was starting to look solid, too.

I know he'll be fine, but it's so hard to watch him suffer. The pain meds helped, and he slept a good part of the day (I don't think he slept well last night.) Tucker, I am crating him, but his crate was bought for his adult size, and we took the divider out a long time ago, so he can stretch all the way out. He's got a super comfy bed in there now to help cushion his poor little bones.

Bam-Bam, we've been feeding raw for a month now, and variety hasn't been an issue. Thanks to a C-list score and some awesome sales on beef roasts, I've been rotating through chicken, pork, beef and venison. The only problem we've had is with organs; until today, he's only been getting chicken livers/hearts/gizzards for his 10% organ allotment because I couldn't find anything else. Today, our Hare Today order arrived, so we've got enough pork livers and beef organ grind to last us for 3 or 4 months. And no, the vet didn't confirm Pano by x-ray because it can sometimes take over a week after onset of symptoms for the lesions to show up on the x-ray. But he seemed pretty confident that it's Pano.

Thanks for the nutrition information. I think I'm going to take this as a warning to be more precise with my measurements, and record what he's eating from day to day to make sure I'm covering all my nutritional bases. I think it's crazy no one knows exactly what causes Pano, but there seems to be at least an anecdotal consensus that it happens when these large breed puppies grow too quickly. I'm going to assume that's at least partially a dietary issue and be more careful in the future. thinking

Edited by author Thu Jun 3, '10 3:12pm PST

Bam-Bam, CGC

Lil' Rubble
Barked: Thu Jun 3, '10 4:05pm PST 
I think it's crazy no one knows exactly what causes Pano, but there seems to be at least an anecdotal consensus that it happens when these large breed puppies grow too quickly. I'm going to assume that's at least partially a dietary issue and be more careful in the future.

Genetics can play a role in how fast a dog grows too. Sometimes you can do everything right and it still happens.
I'm sorry he feels crummy though. I'm sure it feels awful to watch your baby hurt like that and not be able to do anything. Definitely do get the x-ray to confirm it because you don't want to be not treating something else, or treating it as something else.

Barked: Sat Sep 29, '12 11:42pm PST 
I'm sure this question has been answered by now but I just want to add my experience to help others figure out their own situation. My dog is likely a APBT mix, can't say for sure since I have not done her DNA yet, but that's what she looks most like. Some have said she looks like she has *GSD, wolf or lab in her. She weighs 50 lbs & when I found her at 6 weeks old, she only weighed 4 lbs, so, she had a lot of growing to do as a pup & she was a fast grower. Around 4 months, she went limp all over, got lethargic & wouldn't stand or move. She also had green snot coming from her nostrils & a bit from her eyes. It was very sudden, I took her to the vet immediately. I paid lots to rule out any disease it could be with all tests they offered. They could not give me a definite diagnosis after the xrays came back, but they could not rule out pano. I had her on Science Diet pup food & raw beef at the time. The vet was clueless in my opinion & their radiologist couldn't find anything to make a clear diagnosis, in my opinion, due to lack of experience. She told me to stop the raw & feed her adult Science Diet (imo because they sell it in their office & wanted to make more money off of their crap dog food) ONLY, & increase feedings to 4 times per day. Ridiculous, imo. I didn't trust her knowledge because I had been researching all week waiting for the inconclusive $500 xrays to come back. Through my research, I came to the conclusion that the commercial food I was adding to her raw beef is an inflammatory factor & for dogs who have a predisp. for pano, partially because it has a bunch of quasi-food additives in it. I went against the vet's advice & stopped the Science Diet crap, dumped the bags of it in the trash & kept her on strict raw with lots of rest. No walks til it went away. The symptoms started easing immediately. She was back to normal a week later. Never saw those symptoms again. Also, other raw feeders have claimed to have "cured" pano with taking away kibble & doing strict raw.

Fast forward to today. My Ginger is 2.5 years old exactly. She has been breaking into the garage (she knows how to open doors) when we're not home because she knows cat kibble is on the floor in there, & because I don't allow her to have kibble, it's like a big treat for her to get it & she loves it. Since she's been doing it a lot lately, her diet has been less pure than it usually is with my strict, raw only rules. The past few days she's been acting weird; lethargic, moody, & in pain. Hind legs are weak, cannot go up stairs without help or get on bed for sleep, keeps trying to hide under tables & curtains. I cannot prove that it's caused by the kibble in the diet, nor am I an expert of any kind, but based on her history, my personal experience with her symptoms at age 4 months, our results when removing the kibble, possibility of GSD (breed known to get pano) DNA & the current cat kibble factor, I would advise to steer clear of kibble if your dog has a history of pano, just my personal opinion based on our experience.

My solution to the cat kibble nabbing that is going on, since doggie can open doors; cat food will have to go in high place that she can't reach, to protect her from getting sick again. I will update with results!

Edited by author Sat Sep 29, '12 11:58pm PST


Spooky Mulder
Barked: Sun Sep 30, '12 4:39pm PST 
I don't care what anyone says, I am very strongly of the belief that Pano is 99% genetic.

Food, I feel, CAN play a roll... but only when taken to extremes, such as EXTREME amounts of calcium in the diet long-term in a fast growing breed, etc.

I thought Ridley had Pano a few months back, he was favoring a leg, almost was going to get x-rays done to confirm it when I took a deeper look at the leg, and found a puncture wound between his toes. Circumference was small, too small to see with just a quick exam like I'd done, but then I really got in there I saw just how deep it was. Not fun, but I cleaned it out and rested him for a few days and it was cleared up, no more issues.

If he does have Pano, I'd be more apt to attribute it to genetics than diet.
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