Legg-Perthes occurs most often in toy-breed puppies between four and 11 months of age.  It can be an inherited problem in some breeds.  Avascular necrosis  (bone death) occurs in both hips in about 15 percent of the cases.  Occasionally, it is the result of a traumatically dislocated hip as the result of a trauma such as an auto accident, or a fall from a height.  Weight bearing causes the dead bone beneath the cartilage of the femoral head to collapse.  This fractures the cartilage and causes a gradual destruction of the hip joint

Signs of this are:

  • Lameness
  • The inability to bear weight on leg
  • loss of range of motion due to muscle wasting
  • affected leg may be shorter than the opposite leg

A standard X-ray of the hips and pelvis establishes the diagnosis.


TREATMENT:  Medical therapy involves restricting activity and administering analgesics.  Some dogs may improve, but surgery generally produces the best results.  Surgery involves either a femoral head and neck excision arthroplasty or a total hip replacement.  The GDC* maintains a Legg-Perthes registry for breeds in the Terrier Group


GDC - Insitute for Genetic Disease Control in Animals.



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Mystic Moon Yorkies
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