This disease is commonly seen in miniature, toy, and small-breed dogs and usually affects dogs that are five to eight months old. It is very common in Yorkshire Terriers. Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease involves the spontaneous degeneration of the head of the femur and results in disintegration of the hip joint. The specific cause is unknown.
- Lameness in a hind limb (usually two to three months onset)
- Carrying the affected limb up
- Pain when moving the hip joint
- Muscle wasting in the thigh of the affected limb
A thorough medical history, physical exam, and x-rays are required to diagnose this disease. Surgical intervention, called a Femoral Head Osteotomy or FHO, is required to treat Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease. The FHO surgery removes the femoral head and neck so a false joint can form from scar tissue.
Strict adherence to the post-operative instructions is imperative. Daily exercise and maintaining an ideal weight after the post-op period are strongly recommended for the ongoing comfort of the patient. More than 95% of dogs that undergo the FHO surgery will have 100% use of the affected leg.