Veterinarians have begun to address the heritability of this disease, and it is generally agreed that although in very rare cases, the disease may be brought on by trauma, it is probably genetic. It has been well documented in terriers (Yorkshire Terrier, Border Terrier, Lakeland Terrier, Jack Russell Terriers, Wheaten Terrier), and has been proven to be hereditary in some breeds. Bilateral cases (both hind legs affected) are not considered to be the result of trauma, and are accepted to be hereditary.

In an effort to clarify the mode of inheritance, research is being conducted, and test breeding has been done. Two affected individuals were bred, and all five resulting puppies were X-rayed monthly to check for signs of LPD. At the seven month radiographic examination, changes were noted in three of the puppies, and all three subsequently became lame. The two remaining puppies had no radiographic changes through nine months of age, and remained sound until 16 months when they were placed in homes. This study indicates that either LPD has a multigenic (more than one gene) mode of inheritance in certain breeds, or that it is not completely expressed. That is, an animal may have the affected genes, but not show signs of the disease. Regardless of the exact mode of inheritance, statistical analysis of this and other studies reveals that LPD has a high degree of heritability. The Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) is a registry which examines X-rays of hips and certifies that they are normal. The address for the OFA is

2300 Nifong Boulevard
Columbia, MO 65201
(314) 442-0418.

Another organization which also provides a similar service is the
Institute for Genetic Disease Control (GDC),
PO Box 222
Davis, CA 95617
(916) 756-6773

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