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Paddle for Perthes Disease Awareness Day

Photo credit: Sebastian Coman Travel

Perthes Disease normally appears in juveniles. Humans, cats, and dogs can get it. The cause of this disease is not known exactly, it could be a genetic predisposition, trauma, hormone imbalance, or growth abnormalities.

This disease has a few different names such as coxa plana, osteochondritis juvenilis, aseptic or avascular necrosis of the femoral head, Perthes Disease, or simply Legg’s Disease. In humans, it affects boys more often than girls and is rarely diagnosed after age 14. In cats, it affects both sexes equally and usually occurs in the first year of life. In dogs, this disease is most commonly seen in terriers and teacup size dogs and also affects both sexes equally.

Legg-Calve’-Perthes is a very painful degenerative disease that attacks the ball of the hip socket. The blood supply to the joint is cut off and the ball or head of the femur begins to disintegrate. The bone begins to die along with the surrounding cartilage. If the case is mild and caught early there is a chance it can be treated with medication, but even in mild cases eventually the joint will develop pain causing Arthritis. In more severe cases surgery is required. Although this disease is generally asymmetrical, it can spread to both hips.

For cats and Dogs these symptoms can indicate Perthes Disease:

  • Limping

  • Progressive lameness

  • Pain during leg movement

  • Difficulty getting up

  • Decreased movement

  • Reluctance to jump or play

  • Abnormal gait

  • Staggering

  • Irritability

  • Degenerating leg muscles

  • Licking of the affected limb

  • “Clicking” heard in joint

  • One leg shorter than the other

For cats who have had surgery, the prognosis is usually very good as long as follow-up care is done, and the joint is monitored regularly. The same is true for dogs.

If your puppy or kitten appears to have any of the symptoms of this painful degenerative disease it is imperative for them to see a doctor as soon as possible. Although there are many reasons why some of the symptoms can occur it is important to get your fur kid checked out and x-rayed.

Photo Credit: Amir Ghoorchiani

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