Ask Seth: Legg Cavle Perthes

My 8 month miniature Yorkie, Cuddles, has become very quiet and doesn’t want to walk for any more than 5 minutes and then goes and lies down.  He then became very lame on his left leg and was very painful when I picked him up.  I took him to the orthopedic specialist and he was diagnosed with Legg-Cavle-Perthes disease.  My husband took him and said he needs surgery. Have you heard of this and is surgery needed?   Please help!! Ruth from NYC

Legg Cavle Perthes disease is a disruption of the blood supply to the head of the femur, which is the ball of the hip joint. Legg Perthes in dogs is common in mini and toy breeds of dogs between 4-12 months, but can also happen in large dogs or due to traumatic injury.  The blood supply to the femoral head is reduced or stops and the bone begins the die and is very painful.  An X-ray will be needed to confirm this.  In my experience, surgical removal of the femoral head is ideal for pain management.  The femoral head is not truly needed in small dogs since the upper femoral muscles compensate and in my experience, dogs usually do very well.  In miniature and toys dogs, this surgery can even be performed on both sides if need be and the dog will be active like a normal dog 4 months after surgery.

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