Canine Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease

Canine Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease (LCPD) is a condition affecting a dog’s hip joints. It’s caused by a decreased blood supply to the top part of their femur, causing it to break down and become necrotic. This can lead to pain and lameness in the affected limb.

The exact cause of LCPD is unclear, however it could be due to an abnormality in their blood supply to the hip joint or a genetic predisposition. It’s most commonly seen in small dog breeds and can occur at any age.

The outcome for dogs with LCPD depends on the stage of their condition and the individual dog. If caught early and treated properly, most dogs can make a full recovery. Some dogs will need lifelong management to prevent the disease reocurring or progressing.

Symptoms of Canine Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease

The most common symptoms of Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease (LCPD) include:

  • Pain or lameness in the affected limb
  • Difficulty walking or running
  • Decreased range of motion in their hip joint
  • Muscle atrophy in the affected leg
  • Abnormal gait or stance when walking or standing

Diagnosing Canine Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease

Diagnosing Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease (LCPD) is typically done through physical examination and imaging tests such as X-rays or CT scans. The veterinarian might also recommend blood tests to check for inflammation or infection in their joints.

Physical examination involves inspecting your dog’s gait, range of motion, and their muscle strength. The vet might also palpate the area for pain or tenderness.

Stages of Canine Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease (LCPD) is typically split into four stages. The stages are based on the severity of their condition and how much joint damage has occurred.

Stage 1

In stage one, there is an early decrease in blood flow to the top part of their femur. This can lead to subtle signs of lameness.

Stage 2

In stage two, their bone begins to break down and become necrotic, leading to more severe lameness. Their hip joint can be swollen or painful.

Stage 3

In stage three, the necrotic bone has broken down further and the hip joint is significantly swollen and painful.

Stage 4

In stage four, their femur has healed but the hip joint is permanently damaged. Your dog might have a reduced range of motion and chronic pain.

Treating Canine Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease

Treating Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease (LCPD) depends on the stage of their condition and the individual dog. The goal of treatment is to reduce pain, improve function, and slow or prevent further joint deterioration.

Non-surgical Treatment: Non-surgical treatments for LCPD include rest and physical therapy. Rest is important to allow their femur to heal and reduce stress on their joints. Physical therapy can help improve their range of motion, decrease pain, and strengthen the muscles around their hip joint.

Surgical Treatment: In some cases, surgery will be necessary to remove necrotic bone or repair a damaged joint. The type of surgery depends on the individual dog and stage of their disease.

Preventing Canine Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease

The best way to prevent Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease (LCPD) is to keep your dog at a healthy weight and give them regular exercise. This helps maintain muscle strength and joint health. If you have a small breed dog, consider giving them glucosamine supplements or omega fatty acids, because these can help support joint health.