Legg Perthes Disease in Dogs
Legg Perthes Disease, also known as aseptic necrosis of the femoral head, Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease, Perthes Disease or simply Legg’s Disease, is a condition that involves spontaneous disintegration and collapse of the top of a dog’s long thigh bone, the femur, which connects the knee to the hip. The cause of this disease is not known. It tends to occur most commonly in puppies of tiny breeds and is thought to have a strong genetic component. For some reason, the blood supply to the upper part of the femur of these dogs becomes disrupted, causing the bone and surrounding cartilage to degenerate and die. The affected hip joint becomes disfigured, loses its structural integrity and becomes extremely painful. Eventually, it collapses and no longer can bear weight. Owners of dogs with Legg-Perthes disease typically notice gradual signs of hind-end lameness when their dogs are quite young – usually less than one year old.
Legg-Perthes disease in domestic dogs is considered to be “idiopathic” – which means that it has no known cause. It tends to occur in young, small or miniature-breed dogs of either gender and is thought to have a strong genetic component. For some reason, the normal blood supply to the upper part of the femur bone becomes disrupted, without any recognizable precipitating traumatic event. Interruption of the blood supply (called “ischemia”) causes the affected bone
Legg-Perthes disease is a painful disorder that primarily affects young, small-breed dogs and terriers. For some unknown reason, the neck and head of the dog’s femur (the long upper leg bone that joins the pelvis to form the hip joint) spontaneously degenerates and dies, causing the ball-and-socket hip joint to deteriorate and, ultimately, to collapse. Once this happens, the affected dog cannot bear weight on that hip, because the joint has completely lost its
Legg-Perthes disease is not particularly difficult for a veterinarian to diagnose. However, the symptoms of Legg-Perthes disease can mimic those resulting from other causes of hind limb lameness, such as patellar luxation, hip dysplasia, trauma/injury/fracture of the femur or pelvis, degenerative joint disease and septic arthritis of the hip joint, among others.Most veterinarians presented with a limping dog will get a complete history from the owner and then conduct a thorough physical examination. Of course,
When an owner suspects that her dog is suffering from some form of hip or hind limb lameness, it is time to get a veterinarian’s assessment of the dog’s health and physical status. The therapeutic goals of treating Legg-Perthes disease are to return the dog to normal (or near-normal) pain-free activity, stabilize the hip joint and restore mechanical weight-bearing hip function.In mild or very early cases of Legg-Perthes disease, non-surgical medical management may be sufficient