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Old Apr 17, 2014, 08:30 AM
kmlocek's Avatar
kmlocek kmlocek is offline
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Michigan
Posts: 8
Default I need to vent about Bentley's diagnosis of Legg Calve Perthes disease

Hi, our almost one year old Sheltie was diagnosed in Feb. with this horrible disease, he has it in both hips. I really like my vet, but he wants to wait and see if his hips heal on its own (instead of performing a femoral head and neck ostectomy ) I am upset that the breeder we bought him from has NEVER heard of this disease, and she has been breeding them for 45 years!! I clearly remember the day we picked him out, he was laying on his belly, with his back legs stretched out backwards, breeder said "well we know he doesn't have hip dysplasia". The cost of the surgery is not as high as a hip replacement, which he would need both, and we just can not afford that.
It seems like this is a not so common disease that effects small breed dogs, I wish I could talk to someone who has had a dog with the same diagnosis. I am also starting to think he may have a thyroid problem, he was 19 pounds in Sept. and in Feb he was 42 pounds!! He has only eaten Neutro Natural lamb and rice dog food, no table food, just occasional dog biscuits. My vet said it is very unlikely he has issues, due to his young age.
He is currently taking Doc Roy's stage 3 (which makes me sad that he completely skipped stages 1 & 2) bone and joint meds (its glucosamine) dog aspirin and I have carprofen from the vet, but I am so worried his liver will be damaged if he is on it long term.
Would you switch vets? Ours is a farm vet, which he sees all types of animals, he is very knowledgeable, and he consults with Michigan State University if he needs additional info on the problem. I am afraid if I do take him to a specialist, he may want to replace both hips. Sorry so long, thanks for reading!

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Old Apr 17, 2014, 10:11 AM
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Caro Caro is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Canberra, Australia
Posts: 5,089

A few suggestions.

See an orthopaedic vet, they can give you a much better overview of your options. What your current vet is telling you is the correct approach and you probably won't get any different a view from another general practice vet - an orthopaedic vet sees this sort of thing all the time so can give you a much better idea of options and prognosis. At that young age there may be other options beside an FHO. I'm not keen on the FHO (my female recently had a hip replacement so I've done a lot of research). If you can avoid it then do consider your options. However an orthopaedic vet will be able to give you better advice.

LCP is not something that happens that often, I wouldn't blame the breeder as it sometimes just occurs and no one knows why, it may be a recessive trait, but it may not. So it is quite conceivable that she has never seen it in her dogs in all that time.

You have to get all that weight off. It is putting a huge amount of stress on those joints and doing much more damage. I know it is really hard (I've been through it myself) but whatever you are feeding halve it immediately. If he has hip issues then he isn't moving as much and that's why he is putting on weight. He just doesn't need those calories Cut out the biscuits, put him on a low cal diet and cut back his food by half or even 2/3, if he is hungry replace the food with vegetables. This is probably the most critically important thing you can do for him at the moment. He won't heal if he has all that extra stress on his joints.

Have a look at the arthritis threads for some additional help on dealing with joints. If the current supplement doesn't already have it get some Green Lipped Mussel (aka New Zealand Mussels), it is a scientifically proven natural anti-inflammatory. Many supplements now contain it, but you can also buy it fresh or give him the human supplements (they usually come in a capsule).

The vet has probably given him carprofen to get through this current period while you wait and see if it corrects itself. There are newer NSAIDs that are kinder on their stomachs if you find he needs to be on it long term. My male sheltie has been on daily NSAIDs for the last 4yrs as well as heavy duty pain relief, he takes an anti-ulcer med on top of that and gets 6-monthly blood tests done to keep an eye on his liver and kidneys, so it can be done. Atm you need to keep him comfortable, if it becomes a long term issue that's when you should talk to your vet. Has he given you any idea of how long he wants to wait to see if it corrects itself?

Join the Yahoo group called CanineHD - you will be able to search on lots of threads about LCP.

And finally, don't beat yourself up. The prognosis for a dog with LCP, when treated, can be good. I have one sheltie with elbow dysplasia that is on heavy duty drugs and won't have a long life, and now my other one needed a hip replacement. I have been through all the questions and the heartache and in the end you will never know why.
Deska and Tully
& Tully's cats.
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Old Apr 17, 2014, 10:19 AM
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Ontario, Grand Bend
Posts: 908

I am so sorry you are having to deal with this. I don't know what to tell you about the hip situation except to read your contract - many breeders provide a 1 year health guarantee. I know you have bonded with this puppy, but if you cannot afford the treatment/surgery, the best course of action may be to surrender him back to the breeder or see if she will cover at least part of the cost.
Health guarantees are one reason we go to reputable breeders after all.

About the thyroid issue my last girl was diagnosed when she was only 2. We went in for her annual checkup and the vet said I was overfeeding and put her on a diet - she did not like the diet food ( ate it but seemed miserable) so after the first bag, I just reduced her regular kibble by 1/3 and gave he absolutely no treats. I went in to the office to weigh her every few weeks. In 2 months she lost exactly 2 oz. The vet said I must be feeding her extra but I had been weighing her food down to the kibble and told him I knew exactly what was going into her mouth. That's when he very skeptically decided to test her thyroid. I have no idea what the numbers were but he said she came back off the charts and clearly had thyroid issues. With the meds it only took us 3 months to get back down to 24 pounds from 31. She was playful & energetic again, a different dog. So it's not impossible that your pup also has thyroid issues. IMO it's worth doing the testing.

Mom to Hanna ( smerle born June 3, 2013)
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Old Apr 17, 2014, 12:13 PM
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Sharon7 Sharon7 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Southern California
Posts: 1,081

What Caro said - you must absolutely get the weight off him to preserve his joints. I don't know much about this in dogs, but my hubby had this as a child and now as an adult he is fine. He had no surgery although he may have worn special shoes and had limited activity for a while, I don't remember the details. So don't panic about rushing into surgery.

So sorry your poor boy is dealing with this, I know you are sad and frustrated.
Ally (the Pipsqueak)

Brooke (the love bug)
Faith (the Tornado)
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Old Apr 17, 2014, 12:28 PM
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trini trini is offline
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Location: upstate ny
Posts: 2,020

Leggs Perthes is a devastating disease as you already know...and I am so sorry your little one has been dx'd with this.

Years ago we had a darling sable boy, from a well known breeder, who was dx'd at 9 months old with Leggs Perthes. Typically this disease has run it's course by 1 1/2 to 2 years old, but if the damage has been too severe the little dog will be in constant pain and handicapped for the remainder of his/her life without surgery.

For our little guy, hip repair or replacement was not an option because the damage to his hip joints was too severe and he had to have femoral head and neck removal. Sadly, both his hips were equally involved and the one HUGE mistake we made was to allow the specialist (per his recommendation) to do bi-lateral surgery rather than have one hip done and then 6 months later have the second hip done. I would never again allow bi-lateral surgery...the pain from any bone cutting is intense and with both hips involved our little guy initially just gave up and wouldn't even try to stand or move post surgery.

Final long term results of the femoral head and neck removal were very good. The only life long limitations he had were not being able to jump high or do a long flight of steep stairs. But he was 100% pain free and a happy, playful little lad.

It is always a shock to find out a little pup you love has such a condition. I went through the whole range of emotions from being really angry and wanting someone to blame, to tears for what we would have to put our little guy through to give him any good quality of life.

Whatever route you decide to take in getting help for your little one, my heart goes out to you and I send good wishes for your pup.

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Old Apr 18, 2014, 08:49 AM
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kmlocek kmlocek is offline
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Michigan
Posts: 8

Thank you for all of your thoughts and suggestions! I found a orthopedic vet and will be taking him there for a consult. I will also get his thyroid checked as well. What is odd is my cousin has this horrible disease, he was diagnosed at around 8 years old. He eventually will need a hip replacement when his is in his 30's or 40's.
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Old Apr 18, 2014, 11:38 AM
Tagg Tagg is offline
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Brantford, On
Posts: 1,354

Just for your information. Shelties are on the OFFA list of being a breed affected by this disease. Maybe the breeder hasn't been keeping up.
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Old Apr 18, 2014, 12:31 PM
HopeShelties HopeShelties is offline
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Location: Kentucky
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Most Sheltie breeders do not test for legg calve perthes. According to offa, 3,438 Shelties have been tested. None have been reported as anything but normal. It is not a common thing in Shelties... not to say it doesn't happen, only that it isn't common. So I wouldn't go blaming the breeder for this. Really, in 45 years, she probably has never run across a Sheltie who is affected with it.
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Old Apr 18, 2014, 01:15 PM
ClantyreSheltie ClantyreSheltie is online now
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Location: Baltimore
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Originally Posted by HopeShelties View Post
Most Sheltie breeders do not test for legg calve perthes. According to offa, 3,438 Shelties have been tested. None have been reported as anything but normal. It is not a common thing in Shelties... not to say it doesn't happen, only that it isn't common. So I wouldn't go blaming the breeder for this. Really, in 45 years, she probably has never run across a Sheltie who is affected with it.
I would second this. I don't know if it's something they screen for with the regular hip x-rays, but I have never personally known of a Sheltie that had it.

I also argue that even with a thyroid "condition" (however that is defined), weight gain is controllable. Having knowledge of what foods to feed and what not to feed (e.g. diet foods) is important. In your dogs case, that weight HAS TO come off, the problem is made exponentially worse because of the weight. I've even seen dogs diagnosed as "dysplastic" that were suddenly fine once the weight came off.
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Old Apr 18, 2014, 09:34 PM
famous seamus famous seamus is offline
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: new jersey
Posts: 720

Sorry to hear you got a scary diagnosis. I second, third and fourth the motion to test the thyroid. Then take it from there. Go to the Illinois Sheltie Rescue web site and do the quick read on thyroid levels and look at the pictures. It will help.

Good luck,

Kate (keep us posted)
SheltieGirl & Harper Lee & Bridey(honorary sheltie)
O'Keeffe- Blue Merle darling RB 2002
Tobey Love - Tri Mommy's Boy RB 2008
Famous Seamus - Sable Daddy's # 1 Boy RB 2011
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