Legg Perthes Disease and Yorkshire Terriers

yorkshire terrierLegg Perthes disease is found in humans and dogs. Small and toy breeds, such as mini Yorkshire terriers and toy Yorkies are especially prone, as are most other dogs less than 12 kilograms.

Legg Perthes can be caused by a fall, knock or blow to the femur, the top of the hip bone in the rear legs, thereby impeding the blood flow and causing the degenerative bone disorder.

The disease sets in between four and twelve months and the first sign is a dog developing a limp. If there are no steps taken straight away then the limp will worsen eventually making the dog go lame. Legg Perthes disease causes pain and arthritis in the affected joint.

The first step to take to avoid this disease is to choose your dog carefully. If you are deciding to buy via Yorkie breeders you must ensure that they are reputable. Ask to see both parents before buying and enquire about inbreeding and medical history. It is not known whether Legg Perthes is heredity, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

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Rehoming through a Yorkshire terrier rescue has its benefits, as a rescue centre won’t part with a dog until a vet has checked it out. Any disorders, illness or diseases, such as Legg Perthes, will be picked up. Also, many rescue centres continue to pay vet bills for long-term conditions even once they are rehomed.

Using a rehoming centre obviously comes with more procedures than going to see a litter of teacup Yorkie puppies for sale, and then taking one home.

Depending on the dog’s temperament some dogs can’t be homed with young children and/or other pets. Although if you find Yorkie puppies for adoption through a rescue centre, they will normally be homed with other pets and children due to their young age.

The second step to avoid Legg Perthes is prevention. Although it is very hard to watch your new puppy all the time it is essential that you make everything as safe as possible for them. Invest in doggy stairs so they can get up and down the furniture easily. If you are crate training, this will help tremendously if you have to leave your puppy alone and ensure that they don’t get into an accident whilst unattended.

If Legg Perthes is unable to be prevented, as is the case in a lot of situations, then you need to look at what is the cure. Luckily this is a condition that is highly treatable with an extremely high success rate.

Surgery for a Yorkie dog with this disease includes a femoral head and neck ostectomy (FHO). This involves the complete removal of the head of the femur, the ball that sits in the socket, which allows the surrounding fibrous tissue, granulation tissue and other scar tissues to form a ‘false joint’. This is the most common surgical procedure and almost all puppies recover well from it.

Another procedure is a complete hip transplant, but this is rarely used for small dogs, instead being kept for the rare larger dog that suffers with this disease.

Before your dog is put under the surgeon’s knife the vet might try to correct the problem non-surgically. This only really works in cases that are caught early or very mild ones. It might involve an extended period of crate stay, coupled with pain medication and/or anti-inflammatory drugs.

An Ehmer sling may be used to take the weight off the leg and allow the femur to fix itself back into place in the joint, although the reliability of this treatment is highly debated and not considered an option by many orthopaedic professionals.

When Yorkie dogs have undergone surgery for Legg Perthes, it is crucial for them to partake in the right exercises to encourage not only their recovery but the use of their leg as well. These exercises may include swimming and weight-bearing exercises. It becomes essential to manage your dog’s weight after surgery, as any extra pounds will put a huge strain on all hip joints.

Other treatments for Yorkie dogs include massages to help relieve pain, acupuncture and other homeopathy remedies. Some pet insurance will pay for this so contact your provider if you feel that you dog will benefit from any alternative medicines.

For more information about Yorkshire Terriers, check out the highly recommended Insider’s Guide To The Yorkshire Terrier package today!

truth about this breed

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