If you’ve got a Great Dane puppy at home, you’re likely wondering if they are experiencing growing pains and how to best help them if they are. This article will dive into the details of growing pains in Great Danes and help you better understand this occurrence going forward!
What Are Growing Pains In Great Danes?
Growing pains in Great Danes, or panosteitis, is a painful condition that impacts the shaft or outer surface of the bones in the legs. Panosteitis causes inflammation on the outside of the bone, resulting in shifting lameness based on the affected leg.
These growing pains tend to come on suddenly, causing a Great Dane pup to limp without any explanation. This lameness can not often be tied to any form of trauma, causing owners to scratch their heads when it appears out of nowhere.
Panosteitis is thought to be a result of increased pressure within the dog’s bone or even uncontrolled stimulation of the soft tissue within the bone. This is understood to be more common in large breed dogs due to their fast growth periods, making Great Danes, especially at risk.
The exact cause of growing pains is still unknown, but it may be tied to improper nutrition, genetics, stress, underlying disease, or even infection. No matter the cause of this strange condition, it can cause serious pain in our growing Great Dane friends.
Are Growing Pains Common In Great Dane Puppies?
Growing pains are most common in dogs with fast growth periods and long bones. This means large breed dogs are most at risk, with Great Danes ranking high on the list.
German Shepherds are the most common sufferers of panosteitis, with Great Danes coming in at a close second. Other at risk breeds include Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and Boxers.
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What Are The Signs Of Growing Pain In Great Danes?
Growing pains in Great Dane puppies are painful, meaning you will see general signs of discomfort and lameness in your pup. In addition, you will often see your Great Dane favoring one or more legs at a time, even refusing to put any weight on the limb at all.
The affected limb may be painful to the touch, and they may cry out when participating in daily activities. Panosteitis can also make a dog feel generally unwell, even leading to lethargy, anorexia, and fever in some cases.
Growing pains are most common in the humerus but can also occur in the femur, tibia, radius, and ulna. This means virtually any point in your dog’s limb can experience panosteitis, meaning you can see limping of any leg.
Growing pains in Great Danes usually have cycles of severity, with some periods more painful than others. This means your puppy may struggle with limb pain for days to weeks at a time, only to be followed by a brief period of relief.
Growing pain may be present in one limb at a time, or the pain may shift from leg to leg depending on the day. This is normal for growing pains in Great Danes and is often an indicator that they are struggling with panosteitis.
Recommended Read: When Do Great Danes Stop Growing & Reach Full Size?
How To Diagnose Growing Pains In Your Great Dane Puppy
If you take your Great Dane puppy to the vet due to fearing growing pains, there are a couple ways your veterinarian will likely diagnose the condition. First, your vet will feel the leg that your puppy seems to be struggling with, as it will often be sensitive when pressure is applied.
Your Great Dane’s vet can then perform routine x-rays of each of their limbs, looking for an increase of density in their bones. Even if the bone changes are slight, this can help your vet determine that your pup is indeed struggling with panosteitis.
Sometimes x-rays are not the best diagnostic tool, as it can take up to 2 weeks for the bone density to occur after the symptoms begin. Physical exam may be enough for some vets to diagnose the issue, or they may suggest returning in 2 weeks for repeat x-rays.
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Can You Treat Growing Pain in Great Danes?
While there is no set treatment for growing pains in great Dane puppies, there are ways to manage their symptoms when they occur. Panosteitis can be extremely painful for a pup, meaning the best way to ease their discomfort is through proper pain control.
The most commonly used pain relief for puppies with growing pains are anti-inflammatory medications like Meloxicam and Rimadyl. Prescription medications are the only forms of anti-inflammatories that can be used in our pups. Over-the-counter human medications can lead to severe complications in our canine friends.
If your pup is currently experiencing a growing pain episode, your vet may also suggest limiting exercise until their pain resolves. Just as rest can promote comfort if we sprain our ankle, rest is key for puppies with panosteitis.
Once their growing pain has passed temporarily, you can then get back to normal puppy playtime. However, it’s best to always avoid vigorous exercise if your pup has struggled with panosteitis in the past.
Additionally, if you notice your pup to have a change of appetite or seems lethargic, it’s crucial to visit your vet. A decrease in appetite can be serious for a growing puppy. They need a certain amount of daily calories to thrive.
When Will My Great Dane Stop Having Growing Pains?
If your Great Dane puppy is struggling with growing pains, you may wonder when it will ever end. The good news is that this disease is self-limiting, meaning it will go away on its own eventually.
Growing pain episodes often last anywhere from 3-5 weeks and should end completely by the time a dog reaches 2 years of age. If your Great Dane pup is in pain for longer than 5 weeks at a time or is still experiencing symptoms after 24 months of age, it’s time to see the vet.
Other bone conditions in dogs can mimic the signs of panosteitis in our pups, meaning any abnormal symptoms should always be explored by your veterinarian. This is why we suggest seeing your vet at the first sign of pain in your pup, as you never know what is going on without proper guidance.
Can You Prevent Growing Pains In Great Danes?
If you are lucky enough to have a Great Dane pup in your life, you are likely looking for any possible way to prevent future pain in your furry friend. While there is no miracle prevention for growing pains in Great Danes, there are a couple ways to decrease their chances of developing the condition.
The first preventative measure involves offering your puppy a high-quality diet that is formulated for their age. This promotes proper growth in your furry friend, as well as any complications from malnutrition.
Another possible prevention of growing pains in Great Dane puppies involves keeping them at a healthy weight. Excess weight will only add stress to their growing bones, increasing the likelihood of pain and developing bone and joint conditions.
While we tend to think of growing pains as a mild nuisance in growing dogs, it can actually be quite painful for our canine friends. Be sure to review the information that we discussed above, and you can best help your growing Great Dane pup going forward!
Check out The Puppy Mag’s other Great Dane articles!