Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease (LCP Disease) is a congenital degeneration of the bone end that occurs in young miniature and small breeds of dogs and results in a reduced blood supply to the affected bone. The cause of this disease is unknown but recent studies show strong evidence of the hereditary nature of the disease. Both sexes are affected, but males suffer four times more often than females. It usually occurs in puppies between 4 and 12 months of age. The affected dog will limp and experience pain on extension of the hip joint during exercise or veterinarian examination. At the advanced stage of the disease muscle contracture and apparent shortening of the leg on the affected side may develop.

There are two approaches in treating this disease: conservative therapy and surgical operation. With the conservative therapy, the dog is enforced to rest in a cage and is allowed out of the cage only to maintain its toilet training. The animal is carried to and from the cage and kept on a leash during evacuation. Strict adherence to this form of treatment results in a dog with nearly normal bone end and complete return of pain-free motion and a normal gait. It takes 4 to 6 months before the femoral head heals sufficiently to permit normal movement. If collapse of the femoral head occurs during the confinement, surgical treatment is performed. Chronic cases will lead to degenerative joint disease.