Lexus started limping in a back leg a couple of weeks ago. Anick (Lexus' breeder and owner) had warned me when I first got her that this might happen and not to worry, Shepherds can get something called "Panosteitis", Pano for short. Basically this is nothing more than growing pains, it moves from leg to leg and can cause them pain until they are about two years old and have stopped growing.
So I wasn't too concerned. Lexus hadn't been slammed by another dog, she hadn't smashed into anything or slid out. Nothing happened, I just noticed one day that she was limping... something that would usually strike fear into my heart as I always think the worst!
I let Anick know about it and kept an eye on Lexus while keeping her quiet. After a week she was still limping in the same back leg, and while it wasn't getting worse, it was also showing no improvement. It was bad enough that she was lifting that foot right off the ground. She was irritated with it, not licking any area but kicking it out when lying there and she was restless at night. We made an appointment with the vet. Because Lexus hadn't shown any signs of pano until now, and because it was lasting so long in the one leg the possibility of injury was there.
An injury in my own dogs is one thing, I wouldn't like it but in the end I'm the only one affected. Lexus isn't mine, she's got a working future ahead of her and I would hate to have her hurt on my watch, in my care. A leg injury can be serious.
The vet checked her over, down her spine and tail, from her toes up to her hips. She couldn't be sure, but thought it could be pulled ligaments in her knee. No mention of pano. Argh! THAT wasn't something I wanted to hear!
Anick had them x-ray her hips to make sure it wasn't them. Turns out her hips look great (yay!) and the x-rays showed she did in fact have pano!
After her first dose of Metacam she was feeling better and you could see a huge difference not only in her limping (none) but her overall attitude. She was happy. I was happy.
I'm to give her Metacam on any bad days, I hope she doesn't have many of those.