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Appeared on Mersey Kennels Web Page

Prepared by Jennifer Tomes

Legges-Calves-Perthes is known by a number of names including legges perthes, and aseptic necrosis. It is a condition that results in degeneration of the femur. This condition is common to many small breeds. It has been suggested that Legges Perthes is the small dog's hip dysplasia.

Legges Perthes results from a lack of blood to the femur head. As the femur head does not receive an adequate supply of nourishment the bone begins to die.

The condition generally appears between the ages of 6 and 9 months. Often, but not always, an injury occurs just before symptoms appear. Generally, the first symptoms are licking the rear leg, the dog becoming peevish (as a result of being in pain) and obvious pain while walking. If any symptoms are evident animals should be brought to their veterinarian for diagnosis. A x-ray will reveal whether or not the condition is present. In most cases only one joint is affected, although in approximately 10-15% of cases the damage is bilateral.

Surgery is the treatment of choice for animals afflicted with the condition. The femur head and all affected bone matter is surgically removed. This generally halts the progression of the necrosis. Once treated, dogs can continue to lead relatively normal lives.

There is some suggestion of a genetic basis for Legges Perthes, although inheritance of the disorder is likely complex and is not well understood, and therefore affected dogs should not be used for breeding purposes.

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