Legge Calvé Perthes Disease


This condition affects the femoral head, the ball that fits into the hip socket. The bone begins to die off and then will collapse down when the dog stands on the limb. It will affect young growing dogs and is often picked up at around 6 months.


We do not actually know why this problem develops but it is believed to be related to  changes in the blood vessels to the area. There is also some evidence that there is a hereditary component to this problem.


The body will try to heal and sometimes will manage to do so but the healing process may result in imperfect formation, depending upon the extent of the damage.


Looking at the x-ray on the left, it is evident that the right hip seems to be dissolving. It takes on a 'moth-eaten'  appearance.  In around 25% of cases some of these patients  will improve and the bone will recover. However, many cases will look very much like that in the x-ray and it is clear that the joint surface can never recover from here.


Surgery generally involves completing a 'Femoral Head & Neck Excision' where we remove the damaged area. It seems inconceivable that patients can walk on the leg after surgery, but they can, and generally recovery is incredibly good.


Press the right arrow to see where we make a cut through the bone to remove the affected area. Once removed there is no bone to bone, or rather cartilage to cartilage contact so the pain of the rubbing of abnormal bone against the hip is eliminated.  The muscles all around the hip then hold the limb in approximately the correct location.


Extension is often limited after surgery, but not such that you would notice on a day to day basis. These patients will recover almost normal mobility but if we examine them carefully, we will find that their hip extension is reduced slightly.