Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease in Dogs

Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What is Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease?

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease (LCP) is a hip joint disorder involving a dog’s hind leg in the femur bone area. It occurs most commonly in toy and miniature breeds when the dogs are between 4 months and 1-year-old, with the highest risk occurring around the age of 7 months. It can cause numerous problems in dogs, such as inflammation, stiffness, pain, and even inability to move around and walk. The condition usually only occurs in one hip rather than in both hips. Males and females are equally at risk for developing LCP.

Certain dog breeds are more likely than others to be diagnosed with Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease. These include the Yorkshire Terrier, Pug, Poodle, Scottish Terrier, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, Chihuahua, and West Highland White Terrier. Numerous other breeds are also at risk.

Legg-Calvé-Perthes (LCP) disease is named after Legg, Calvé, and Perthes, who in 1910 identified this hip disorder that could occur in children. The disease can also occur in dogs, especially very young ones, and can result in serious disability including the inability to walk.

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $300 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,500

Symptoms of Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease in Dogs

Numerous symptoms can occur when a dog has LCP. These range from mild to severe, depending on how advanced the disease is. Symptoms can include:

  • Dog will not put weight on the diseased leg
  • Inability to walk from time to time
  • Limping
  • Pain during physical examination when a veterinarian tries to extend the hip joint
  • Collapse of the femur bone head
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Diseased leg seems to be shorter because the femur bone head has collapsed
  • X-rays show increased joint space

If your dog has any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian for an examination appointment. Early diagnosis of LCP can help to bring about a more favorable outcome.

Types

It does not appear that there are different types of LCP. Even if there is more than one cause of the disease, the symptoms and treatment protocol are the same for any cases of LCP.

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Causes of Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease in Dogs

Various hypotheses exist among experts as to what causes LCP in dogs. Even Legg, Calvé, and Perthes, the three people who identified the disease, had differing ideas about its cause. The following are some of the hypotheses about what causes LCP:

  • The disease could be related to a vascular problem and limited blood supply going to the femur bone area. Adequate blood supply is needed to bring nutrients and oxygen to, and remove waste from, the hip joint. Legg supported this hypothesis, which seems to be the most commonly supported hypothesis.
  • Some experts believe dogs inherit LCP from their parents or other previous generations but are unsure how that happens.
  • LCP could be caused by an endocrine system disorder.
  • Rickets could cause LCP. This is what Calvé believed.
  • Infective degenerative arthritis could cause LCP. Perthes supported this hypothesis.
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Diagnosis of Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease in Dogs

If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, including limping or lameness, contact your veterinarian for an appointment. At the appointment, the veterinarian will complete a physical examination if they suspect LCP. They will test out the dog’s hip, performing various movements such as trying to extend the dog’s hip joint. They will most likely also do X-rays to get a better picture of what’s going on.

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Treatment of Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease in Dogs

A veterinarian will typically use a combination of X-rays and physical examination results to determine the best course of treatment. X-rays play a pivotal role, and some experts believe they are more important to making a diagnosis and deciding treatment course than physical examination is.

Treatment depends on how severe the LCP disease is. If the dog’s case is mild, limiting his or her activity and allowing the dog to rest can provide relief. In some cases keeping the dog in a cage and only allowing the dog to leave the cage when being carried outside for toilet, purposes are the best treatment option. This limited activity along with treating the condition with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NDAIDs) may be the only necessary treatment. If the femoral head collapses at any time when attempting to recover the dog’s health through this type of immobilization and rest, then surgery would likely be required.

If the case is more serious, to the point that the dog is unable to walk at all because of pain and muscles have weakened because the dog is not using them, less invasive options may not be sufficient. In these cases, surgery to remove the femur bone head and neck may be necessary. This can result in a reduction or elimination of the pain associated with LCP. After surgery, the tissue and muscle in the area form a false hip joint. Also in serious cases of LCP, total hip replacement surgery may be necessary. In some cases of LCP, surgery provides the best outcome, as opposed to less invasive options.

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Worried about the cost of legg-calve-perthes treatment?

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Recovery of Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease in Dogs

If the dog does not need surgery for LCP but instead requires complete rest and immobilization, after following the rigid rest protocol the dog may experience a complete recovery. He may then be able to move and walk normally without pain. This healing process may take several months although healing time and outcome vary based on each dog’s individual case. It is essential to follow the strict protocol for rest, or there could be relapses and inadequate recovery.

If the dog has surgery on the femur bone head and neck for LCP, the recovery process involves various exercises and other protocols based on the veterinarian’s individualized instructions. It can take a while – up to 1 year - for complete recovery to occur. During this time the dog should gradually experience improvements in functioning, and pain should decrease as a result of surgery.

It is important to take your dog for all appointments that your veterinarian recommends throughout the recovery process and to carefully follow all instructions from the veterinarian. This will help to ensure a complete recovery. In all cases of LCP, whether mild or severe, the veterinarian will typically do X-rays at times to monitor the recovery process.

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Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $300 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,500

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Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Rico

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Havanese

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11 Months

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3 found helpful

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3 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Hopping And Limping..Right Hind Leg

Our 11 mo. Havanese has been diagnosed with Perthes disease, and will be having FHO surgery next week. We are wondering about the post op period, and when we may expect him to be able to walk, and what might be required of us as far as time spent with him? We have 2 other dogs, and we know it will be important to keep him secluded from them. Should he be walking and exercising two weeks after surgery? Thank you!

Aug. 1, 2018

Rico's Owner

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3 Recommendations

Recovery from femoral head ostectomy varies but you should keep Rico’s movement restricted for the first month and we can expect some weight bearing after three weeks or so; but your Veterinarian will give you strict instructions on post operative care. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 2, 2018

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Sandy, female

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Morkie

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9 Months

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2 found helpful

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2 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Limping, Hopping, Pain

Are we just lucky or is this more popular than anybody knows? Eight years ago our 8-mo old Havanese/Coton cross was d/x'd with it. Yesterday, our Morkie was just d/x'd at 9 months old. I thought this was supposed to be very uncommon... Different breeders, two states apart. In both dogs, they didn't/don't complain of pain unless they get a definite bump on the actual hip, just limped and hopped around like nothing else was the matter. Wiley the Havaton went to a home that was able to accommodate the surgery necessary for his recovery at that time. Now, eight years later, we are in a much better financial situation to where we can afford the FHO procedure on our little girl, Sandy. We are scheduled next week already, just ten days after d/x, so we are very fortunate to get this going asap. Our kids are confused by how she can be in so much pain but be so energetic and unable to be kept calm, quiet, and such. And, with her being like that, the kids aren't *quite* able NOT play with her... What are we looking at for recovery/therapy, etc with this procedure?

May 7, 2018

Sandy, female's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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2 Recommendations

This disease is actually more common that you think in small breed dogs, unfortunately. The recovery is fairly straightforward, with a combination of pain medications and physical therapy to get her using that leg again comfortably. As each surgeon has their own post operative protocol for surgery, your surgeon will be able to give you a better idea as to what they expect from you, and how they expect her to recover. She will be more comfortable once that diseased joint is resolved.

May 7, 2018

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Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $300 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,500

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