Legg-Perthes Disease

March 11, 2021 2 min read

Legg-Perthes, also commonly named Legg-Calve-Perthes, Coxa Plana, and Aseptic or Avascular Necrosis of the femoral head is a disease that causes lameness in the hip-joint in small dog breeds ranging from five-months old to one-year of age.

This condition occurs when there is a loss of blood supply to the femoral head, which is the “ball” of the hips ball-and-socket joint. This lack of blood supply results in bone and joint inflammation that is extremely painful for dogs.

To further explain this disease, when blood supply is interrupted to a bone in the body, avascular necrosis occurs, or death of those bone cells. When this happens, the cartilage of the bone also collapses. So, with the femoral head going through this process, it causes an irregularly fitting hip-joint. This then leads to arthritis and discomfort.

 

Symptoms

  • Limping.

 

  • Stiffness in one or both rear limbs.

 

  • Cry out of pain when affected leg is in use.

 

  • Loss of muscle mass over affected limb.

 

  • Not bearing weight on affected limb.

 

  • Lameness that gradually gets worse.

 

Diagnosis

Most common use of diagnosis is radiography (X-rays). Many radiographs are needed over time to confirm the diagnosis, especially when symptoms evolve which causes the appearance of the hip to change on radiographs.

Early observations of the hip will show the head of the femur flattening. Eventually, the head will have a “moth eaten” appearance when the bone is being absorbed in later stages of the diseases. Ultimately, in the most advanced stages, arthritis will start to show clearly on the radiographs.

 

Treatment

In mild cases, Legg-Perthes can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs for pain along with plenty of rest to keep the dog comfortable. If this decision is chosen, it is also important to keep excess weight off the dog, so the joint is not strained even more. Most often, with this disease, surgery is recommended.

The surgery most performed to treat this disease is a femoral head and neck osteotomy (FHO). The head of the femur is removed in this procedure, allowing the body to heal with the scar tissue, serving as a “false joint”.

Another surgery option is a total hip replacement. Both procedures have similar outcomes, but FHO is usually lower in cost, so is the first surgery recommended and the most common treatment.

 

Recovery

Now, for the great news: most dogs can have a full recovery and get back to live normal lives after selected treatment. Rehabilitation therapy is necessary, especially after the FHO surgery to help rebuild those muscles that help create the “false joint” where the bone used to be.

Another great option to help support recovery time is the ®Benefab Canine Comfort Suit. This suit will help assist your dog with pain management and mobility, providing comfort over their period of recovery. Infused with minerals that emit far-infrared rays, it will keep muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments supple and relaxed, all while decreasing inflammation, increasing circulation, and reducing pain and stiffness.

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