Raven at 6 months old
That's our purebred male black German Shepherd puppy, Raven, at 6 months old and weighing in around 76-77 lbs (he wouldn't stay still on the scale), which is about 16-17 lbs above average at that age. He was the runt of his litter, but now he's the largest one and he grows overnight--literally.
The day he turned 5 months old, he figured out how to get up on our bed by himself and it was his trick for the day. Every time we turned around he was up there again, then jumping down at will. Being slightly indulgent parents, we just thought it was cute and took pictures. That night he started to limp and hold his right paw up when sitting and he was still doing it the next day, so we figured he'd sprained it by overdoing the on and offs from the bed, a natural assumption. Having tons of first aid training and having attended nursing school, I put some salves for pain on it and wrapped it, taking the wraps off at night to give it a rest. After a few days, he seemed to be doing better until we played a game of tug and he started to limp and hold that paw up again, so again I started wrapping it and we even bought a dog-specific neoprene brace for it since he kept chewing off the sports tape.
After a month of this, we took him to the vet because we were becoming afraid he'd become permanently lame and learned that although I meant well, what I was doing wasn't doing any good, he had something called Panosteitis, or growing pains, that occurs sometimes in large breed puppies because of how fast they're growing, especially those who truly grow faster and larger than normal. German Shepherds are one of the breeds who are prone to it, and the only other one I know of is another male GSD who was the same size as Raven at the same age.
The good news is that it will self-resolve when his growth plates close, somewhere around 18-24 months. The bad news is, we have a puppy who has a painful inflammation of his bones (the literal meaning of Panosteitis) for at least another year. It's hard to see your puppy limping or lying around when he should be running around, jumping and playing, or to hear him cry out in pain when he's just lying there. However, we've found some solutions.
First, we're raw feeders but on a budget, so the mainstay of our dogs' diet is chicken and sardines. Our holistic vet suggested tweaking that by adding ground turkey to his diet because according to Chinese Food Therapy, a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, chicken (especially with bones in it) is a hot food and turkey is a cold food, as are the sardines. He runs hot and inflammation is hot, so he needs cold foods for balance. She advised us to keep using the turmeric and black pepper for the inflammation and added a plant-based steroid, served up with a bit of coconut oil (my preferred fat for the turmeric absorption and one he loves).
Second, I did some research on CBD oil and its effectiveness in Panosteitis and discovered it's actually quite beneficial because not only does it help with the pain and inflammation, but it also helps build bone density in dogs with Osteoarthritis, Panosteitis and HOD (hypertrophic osteodystrophy, another form of growing pains in puppies). So I purchased CBD oil from a company I trust and we added that to his brunch and dinner and that helped a little bit.
Next I did some more research and decided to follow advice for herbal pain remedies used in dogs for osteoarthritis pain, made sense since I'd seen it lumped together with the CBD oil. I chose two that I already had on hand for my own use, chopped licorice root and cayenne pepper powder. I just added them on top of the ground turkey with everything else, including his probiotic and vitamins. (I'm loving the addition of ground turkey, it makes it a ton easier to administer all of these additions!)
I noticed an immediate improvement with the licorice root, and even more of one with the cayenne pepper. Now he still has some pain if he overdoes things, but our puppy isn't limping often at all and he can run and play again! We still make sure we don't do things like play tug or do too much running or walking on pavement, but it's nice to know there was something we could do so that our sweet pup isn't suffering as much anymore.
If you have a puppy with Panosteitis, do some research, there are things you can do. And consider going a holistic route with diet and herbs because that's a lot easier on his or her system for long term treatment than prescription steroids and pain pills.