Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease in Dogs - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease in Dogs - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease in dogs, also known as avascular necrosis of the proximal femoral head of the femur, is a rapid degeneration of the part of the femur bone which is lodged in the hip joint. Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease usually affects younger dogs between 4-12 months. In addition, some dog breeds are more prone to this avascular necrosis than others. This condition generates an evident lameness of the back legs and severe noticeable pain. Fortunately, if detected and treated early, treatment can be effective enough for a dog to live a normal life.

For more about the causes, symptoms and treatment of Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease in dogs, keep reading here at AnimalWised.

Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease in dogs: causes

Avascular necrosis (AV) of the proximal femoral head occurs when there is an ischemia (inadequate blood supply) in this part of the thigh bone. This means that this area of the bone does not receive the necessary cells to function correctly, thereby causing the deterioration and rapid wear.

If not detected and treated in time, this necrosis can spread towards the head of the femur which will result in the immobilization of this joint. If this disease spreads and is not treated accordingly, a dog may also lose the ability to walk alone.

Although the exact cause of this condition’s onset is not very clear, the most common possible causes of Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease in dogs include:

  • Genetic factors, resulting in some breeds having a predisposition to this disease.
  • Lack of blood flow during growth and hip formation (before the cartilages of the head of the femur are calcified). For this reason, Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease is more common in puppies of 4-12 months.
  • Repeated injuries in this part of the hip that causes fissures and a deterioration of blood flow.

For more, we recommend reading our article where we discuss why is my dog limping on their back leg?

Legg perthes disease: genetic

As we’ve already mentioned, in addition to possible hip injuries and age, there are certain dog breeds that are prone to suffering from this disease. The fact that this disintegration of hip join in dogs can also be caused by genetic factors needs to be taking into consideration, especially when it comes to diagnosis. Dog breeds more likely to suffer from disintegration of the hip joint include:

  • Manchester Terrier
  • Miniature Pinscher
  • Poodle
  • West highland white terrier
  • Australian Silky Terrier
  • Cairn terrier
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Pug
  • Little lion dog (Lowchen dog)
  • Lakeland terrier
  • Fox terrier

It’s also important to note that Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease is more common in small, miniature and toy dog breeds. For more about bone diseases in dogs, we suggest taking a look at our article where we discuss everything you need to know about hip dysplasia in dogs.

Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease in dogs: symptoms

Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease presents clinical signs and symptoms very similar to that of hip dysplasia, so at the beginning of detection there may be doubts about which of these two it may be. For this reason, if you notice any of the below mentioned symptoms, tests need to be carried out by a veterinarian.

The main symptoms of avascular nerrosis of the proximal head in dogs include:

  • Pain in the hip area area and sensitivity when touched
  • Lameness of the hind leg
  • Lifting of the affected leg to avoid putting pressure on it
  • Muscular atrophy in the hip and thigh joint
  • In severe cases, the limp will be very marked and the dog may refuse to walk due to pain
  • Noise when moving the joint due to inadequate friction of the femur
  • May affect only one or both limbs
  • Bone wear will be evident in bone scans

It is vital that if you notice any of the above symptoms that you consult your veterinarian immediately. Only a professional will be able to diagnose and treat this bone deterioration disease in dogs appropriately.

Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease in dogs: treatment

If detected, diagnosed and treatment begins in the early enough (when wear and tear is minimal), this disintegration of hip joint in dogs can be treated by immobilizing the leg and prescribing analgesics for pain. In some cases, anti-inflammatories may also be prescribed to promote blood flow to this area of the bone.

In more advanced and serious cases, treatment will require surgical treatment. During surgery, the necrotic tissue will be removed to remit pain as well the progression of this disease. However, in this case, the cause and lack of blood flow to the bone will also need to be treated.

Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease in dogs prognosis will depend largely on how badly the head on the femur bone has degenerated. In addition, the time of detection will also have an effect on the prognosis. If detected and treated early, recovery and rehabilitation time should be short. More often than not, dogs that have suffered from Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease and have been operated on can live a normal life.

Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease in dogs recovery ( under the supervision of a veterinarian) requires:

  • Appropriate exercise
  • Physical therapy
  • Check-ups
  • High quality diet
  • Patience

For more about bone diseases in dogs, we recommend reading our article where we discuss:

  • Elbow dysplasia in dogs.
  • Bone cancer in dogs.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease in Dogs - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.