Just diagnosed? Here’s Your Guide

If you have just heard from your vet about the diagnosis of Legg-Calve-Perthes disease for your dog, or think they may show symptoms, you may be feeling overwhelmed with what to do next. Before you move forward with a plan, read our road map guide created from the experiences and knowledge of many other pet owners that can help you save time, money and most importantly your dog’s well being.


  1. At the first signs of the disease, such as holding up the leg and biting the hip or “skipping” with the leg, make sure to call around for pet insurance before going to the vet for a consultation. This is extremely important for coverage of the surgery and rehabilitation with can cost upwards of $3,000!
  2. If you are observing what you think are the symptoms of LCPD, please look around at the blog and other online resources for more information.
  3. Make sure your vet has properly diagnosed your dog through the means of a physical examination and Xray. Ask for a copy or to check out the Xray to bring to another vet for a second opinion.
  4. Most veterinary practices have a promotion for a free or discounted first time visit. Use this to your advantage to get a second opinion. Bring the other Xray if you think it will help.
  5. Once your dog has been diagnosed, don’t wait too long for the surgery. Find a local animal hospital that has good reviews if your vet doesn’t offer the surgery.
  6. Before surgery let you vet or surgeon know about the study you would like to participate in. Be part of the research that finds a cure to this disease! Make sure they are aware how to package the bone sample. Contact the research study to get a paid shipping number. Read more here.
  7. Take you dog in for surgery and follow the recommended pain maintenance plan. Each dog’s recovery is different but the more love and support you can give the better!
  8. In the first week, you dog may be confused and unsure what has happened to them. Provide comfortable surroundings and carefully carry them outside to use the restroom.
  9. Be patient, it may take a couple of weeks or over a month for them to put down their leg to try walking again.
  10. Schedule at least 1-2 rehabilitation appointments and a follow up with your vet, which is usually covered in the cost of the surgery.
  11. After a month or what is recommended by your vet, take your dog out for some fun! Bring their favorite toy and treats to encourage movement in their leg. Never pull at the leg as this can tear new scar tissue that is forming and cause painful swelling. Scar tissue build up actually helps after this surgery. It forms a “false” joint to allow movement and recovery.
  12. Rehabilitate! Try to schedule 1-2 sessions with a trained professional at the vet’s office or animal hospital. The best rehabilitation is running (scar tissue build up) and swimming. See Howie’s water rehab here. If you have a pool or live near a lake, jump in with your dog on a leash and guide them around. Start slow and work up to longer times. Swimming forces the dog to use all legs. You will be amazed to see them in action!
  13. Recovery time varies with every dog, stay strong and supportive. Ask your vet about any long term supplements that may help your dog along the way. Howie takes Dasuquin which has glucosomine for joint health. Even after two days not taking it, I notice a big difference in his use of the affected leg so I know it’s working!

Good luck everyone and keep us updated with comments and questions!