Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease in Dogs

Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease is the occurs when the bone that makes up the ball portion of the hip is damaged, probably from lack of blood supply. Also known as Legg Perthes Disease, Perthes Disease or simply Legg’s Disease, the condition involves spontaneous disintegration and collapse of the top of a dog’s long thigh bone, the femur, which connects the knee to the hip, resulting in disintegration of the hip joint (coxofemoral) and bone and joint inflammation (osteoarthritis). Affected dogs are usually between five to eight months in age.

The hip bone of a dog consists of so called hip and socket joint, where the top part of the leg bone fits into a socket formed by the pelvic bone. In a dog suffering from Legg-Calvé-Perthes syndrome, degeneration or even necrosis (death) occurs at the growth centre in the ball and socket joint. This leads to significant pain and lameness.

Since blood supply issues to the femoral head are seen in affected dogs, lack of blood supply is commonly considered a cause of this condition although it is not yet proven.

Small dog breeds like miniature and toy breeds are more prone to this condition whiel the condition has a genetic basis in Machester terriers.  

Common symptoms of this condition include

Lameness (gradual onset over two to three months)

Carrying of affected limb(s)

Pain when moving hip joint

Wasting of thigh muscles on affected limb(s)

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