Legg Perthes Disease

Legg Perthes disease affects the hip joint and ultimately causes arthritis and inflammation. The pain inflicted from this disease can be debilitating, and immobility is common. The disease starts when the head of the femur bone slowly begins to lose blood supply, eventually causing the head to die off. This portion of the bone collapses (in an X-ray you can see the femur head is far less dense than normal bone), and the surrounding cartilage cracks and warps.

There is no known cause of Legg Perthes disease, but it typically occurs in miniature, toy, and small breeds within their first year of living. If your pet exhibits any of the following symptoms, feel free to contact our office to schedule a treatment evaluation.

Symptoms of Legg Perthes Disease:

  • Clicking sound coming from hip joint
  • Lameness in hind leg(s)
  • Limping
  • Reluctant to stand up, play, or jump
  • Thinning of thigh muscles
  • Weakness

Diagnosing and treating Legg Perthes disease

Diagnosing Legg Perthes is not complicated, but some symptoms can mirror other degenerative hind leg diseases such as hip dysplasia and patellar luxation. During your pet’s appointment, the veterinarian will take radiographs that can help distinguish which disease your pet is suffering from.

In treating Legg Perthes, surgery is the method of choice for most veterinarians. Femoral head and neck ostectomy (FHO) is the most common and most successful surgical procedure for this particular disease. During this procedure, the veterinarian will remove the femur head, and in more severe cases, the neck of the femur bone as well. After healing, a pet’s body repairs itself to create a new joint of fibrous tissue and scar tissue, filling in the ball-and-socket joint area where the femur head once was. After the pet has had weeks to rest and allowed this scar tissue to build up, physical therapy rehabilitation is started to extend range-of-motion through hydrotherapy and other non-weight bearing activities. Also, weight management becomes extremely critical to prevent putting added stress on the hip joints. For pets that are genetically inclined to obesity, a nutrition plan might be implemented. The FHO surgery is often very successful in preventing further pain, improving range of motion, and increasing activity levels.

If you have any questions about treatment for Legg Perthes disease, please contact our office.


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Just wanted to say I love Dr. Petcu's staff and his compassionate , caring way of taking care of my dogs.The staff is not only friendly and professional ,they know who you are when you arrive ,and they actually love animals. Is the first Animal Hospital that my dogs are at ease and feel comfortable.The place is very clean and the reception area very elegant and inviting. Exquisite services and Dr. Petcu always take his time to explain the disease and options and still finds time to play with my dogs. He's always treated both his animal and human patients with compassion and dignity,and would never recommend procedures unless he truly feels your pet will benefit from it. One of the vets that cares for your pet. The prices are reasonable and the services exceed all expectations. I Highly recommend Dr.Petcu and his hospital.

Reba S

Western Animal Hospital AMAZING! Western Animal Hospital is the best place in the valley .The staff is professional, friendly, caring and accommodating. The hospital is very clean and upscale. The customer service and the provided services are outstanding.Dr. Petcu is one of the most professional veterinarians that i have ever met in my 25 years of pet parenting. I drive across the valley just to see him( i live in Anthem) .He really cares about his animal patients and it shows in every visits . He is very knowledgeable , compassionate, friendly and always takes the time to answer any question i have and explaining in detail any situation we are dealing with. I had my share of visits to many animal hospitals in the valley but none of them had the last technology as Western - digital X-ray ( they send you home with a cd for you x-ray records ) every room has a computer monitor where the x-ray shows and Dr. Petcu can review with me every detail of it. Also they have the laser surgery and digital dental x-ray. Dr. petcu is one of the most
courteous and pleasant Vets I have ever met. The prices are more than reasonable and also they try to accommodate everybody. I cannot recommend them enough. You can rest easy knowing your pets are in their care.I STRONGLY RECOMMEND THIS HOSPITAL - THEY HAVE A CUSTOMER FOR LIFE IN ME! very good !

Betty K

Western Animal Hospital this doctor is making a lot of sense and will explain everything in details..
prices are great ....

.the best vet I met !! Pam M. 5 Western Animal Hospital - we are bringing our pets to Dr Petcu for 8 years. He was always helpful, many times we did not have the funds to treat our pets but he was fine with us paying when we had the money. He saved our cats in many instances and all I have to say is that I greatly reccomend Western Animal Hospital for any responsable pet owner .

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