Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease in dogs
Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease is a complex name for the degeneration of the head of the femur. The femur, also referred to as the thigh bone supports weight during activity. This painful condition is common in small breed dogs and occurs in the first few months of your pup’s life.
Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease symptoms:
Puppies are playful and therefore it would be easy to dismiss early signs of Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease. However, if you notice any of the following, your pup should be evaluated by a veterinarian:
• Resistance to put weight on the affected leg
• Whimper/whining when putting weight on the leg
• Trouble standing up
• Difficulty walking
It is however important to remember that the above symptoms can be caused by many other conditions. A fracture or dislocation of the hip or knee may present in a similar fashion.
Diagnosing Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease
A vet will evaluate your pup to determine the location of the pain. Moving the hip or pulling the leg straight will be painful with this disease. Once it is determined that the hip is the route of the pain, the next step in diagnosis is to perform an X-Ray.
X-Rays may require sedation. Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease can be seen on imaging, which is a reliable way to make a proper diagnosis. If your vet does not see degeneration to the hip, then she may recommend a follow up X-Ray if she suspects Legg-Calvé-Perthes. As this is a progressive disease, changes to the femur head will present with this condition in a short period of time.
Your veterinarian will most likely recommend surgery for this condition. Surgery is a great option for your pup as it allows for full mobility post recovery. The affected hind leg is often a little shorter which may lead to a slight limp. Adjustment to life after Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease does however occur quickly and almost effortlessly.
Your veterinarian may recommend rehabilitation methods such as walking or swimming which may aid healing. Nevertheless, with a successful surgery, your pup may expect a full recovery within 3 months.