Legg Perthes Disease in Dogs | Diagnosis and Tests
PetWave | Dog & Cat Information

Diagnosing Legg Perthes Disease in Dogs

Diagnostic Procedures

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 a patient is lame, the veterinarian will carefully examine, palpate (feel) and manipulate the affected leg and surrounding area to assess pain, reflexes, bone integrity, inflammation, swelling, temperature/heat and the like. An initial database of blood work (complete blood count and serum biochemistry profile) and a urinalysis are routinely performed as well, to assess the overall health of the dog’s primary organ systems and to look for evidence of infection. If Legg-Perthes disease is the only abnormality in the dog, the results of these tests will be normal.

If the physical examination localizes the site of pain or injury to the hip area, the next nearly universal diagnostic step is to take radiographs (x-rays) of the pelvis, both femurs (the long thigh bones) and both hips. This is important, even if only one side seems affected, so that the veterinarian can compare the radiographic images of both femurs and hips. Early in the course of the disease, radiographs may only disclose a slight widening of the space between the ball of the femur and the pelvic socket (the acetabulum), together with changes in the density of surrounding bone. As the disease progresses, these radiographic changes become more dramatic and almost always become diagnostic of Legg-Perthes disease. The changes can include severely abnormal bone density, irregular shape of the femoral neck and head, fractures, bone fragmentation and other evidence of degenerative joint disease.

Advanced radiographic imaging studies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT/CAT scan) and/or nuclear scintigraphy, typically are not required to diagnose Legg-Perthes disease in dogs. The age, size and breed of the animal, together with the history, physical examination and radiographs, should be all that is needed to make a definitive diagnosis.

Special Notes

As with most diseases or disorders, it is best if Legg-Perthes disease is diagnosed early in its course. Treatment and management are all that much easier before the problem has become chronic.

Source: PetWave


Food Allergies in Dogs

Food Allergies in Dogs: Learn about Food Allergies, including how they can affect your dog,...

Elbow Dysplasia in Dogs

Elbow Dysplasia in Dogs: Learn about Elbow Dysplasia, including how it can affect your dog,...

Leptospirosis in Dogs

LLeptospirosis in Dogs: Learn about Leptospirosis, including how it can affect your dog, and what...

Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Dogs

Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Dogs: Learn about Dilated Cardiomyopathy, including how it can affect your dog,...

Upper Respiratory Infection in Dogs

Upper Respiratory Infection in Dogs: Learn about Upper Respiratory Infections, including how they can affect...


Dog Health Dog Health
Learn about the most common diseases affecting dogs
Puppy Training Getting a Puppy
A new puppy in the house can cause quite a whirlwind of excitement
Dog Breeds List of Dog Breeds
Comprehensive list of dog breeds with specific breed information

Find a Dog Breed?

With so many dog breeds to choose from, sometime it's easier to seach based on certain characterisitcs.

Caring for your Dog?

There is more to caring for your dog than just feeding it. Find out all you need to know to make sure your pet stays healthy.

Training your Dog?

A dog's behavior plays a key role in making a great pet. Training your dog makes a happier dog, and you will be happier too.

Ask a vet?

Have a question?
Ask a Vet Online NowSM

Ask a Vet

About Us | Review Board | Badges | Tell a Friend | Bookmark this Page | Submit Feedback | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
Dog Breeds | Cat Breeds | Dog Health | Cat Health | Dog Training | Cat Training | Dog Care | Cat Care | Dog Adoption | Cat Food & Diet

Advertise on petwave.com - A Pet360 Media Network Partner

Become a Fan of Petwave.com on Facebook Become a Fan on Facebook Follow PetWave.com on Twitter Follow PetWave.com on Twitter Email Friend about Petwave.com Tell your friends about PetWave

© 2015 PetWave Corporation. All rights reserved
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a veterinarian. PetWave disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
For more information view our Terms of Service.