Diagnosis & Treatment of Legg Perthes

X-rays will help determine the correct diagnosis. As changes to bone occur slowly, X-rays taken early in the course of the disease may appear normal. Repeating the X-rays in 3 to 4 weeks will reveal the bony changes. A dog affected with LPD suffers a loss of blood supply to an area of the femur (thigh bone) known as the neck. Because the bone loses its blood supply, it dies. As a result of the loss of bone tissue, the neck of the femur collapses. The neck attaches the head of the femur to the body of the femur. When the neck collapses, the head of the femur is moved, and may also become deformed.

These changes are readily apparent in X-rays. The head of the femur is the "ball" which sits in the "socket" on the pelvis, making up the hip joint. Therefore, changes to the head result in disruption of function of the hip joint which causes the pain and lameness.

The term "avascular necrosis" means death of tissue due to lack of blood supply. In most dogs, only one hip is affected, and males and females are equally affected. Why this loss of blood supply to the area occurs is not known. What is known however, is the genetic nature of the condition. The exact mode of inheritance of LPD has been debated among researchers.

Treatment of LPD usually consists of surgery to remove the damaged femoral head and neck (femoral head ostectomy). Mildly affected animals may recover soundness with only cage rest. Affected animals will probably always have some gait abnormalities, but make satisfactory pets after recovering from surgery.


This is Dillon, he just had surgery on his Legg Perthes three days before this photo.

He is doing pretty well considering. His hip is swollen, but he has already started his therapy, he does not like it at all. As soon as the surgery area heals we will start water therapy.

He is a real doll. Thank you again for letting us have the surgery on Dillon. I know it is hard for you so many times making determination on all the dogs that come our way.

I just thank God and you for making this possible. He deserves a good chance at a pain free wonderful life.

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