The Lakeland terrier is a very healthy dog and not subject to any serious health problems. However, some of the Lakeland terriers do develop Legge Perthes disease. Legge Perthes disease is also referred to as Legg Perthes Disease, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease or PCPD.
Legge Perthes disease develops when there is an insufficient blood supply, which results in the head of the thighbone (femur) beginning to deteriorate and eventually die. The best way to see the deterioration is through means of an x-ray. Although both legs may be affected, it is usually only one leg that is affected with the disease. This genetic disease is sometimes very prevalent, whereas in some cases only a few will actually get the disease.
Symptoms of this disease will vary in each dog depending on the severity of the disease and how far it has progressed. Most symptoms can be seen when the dog is between 4 to 12 months of age. Some of the symptoms are pain in the knee or thigh, restricted hip movement, muscular atrophy in the upper thigh, unequal length of the legs and difficulty walking. Pain may be minor or quite severe, depending again on the level of deterioration.
Some dogs that experience only minor symptoms and do not necessarily require medical treatment. Other dogs, however, may experience severe pain and hip joint deformity. In cases such as these, the dog may require surgery to help the problem. If the atrophy is serious, the recovery period will take longer than normal and therapy may not help as much as it should.
Treatment will depend on the dog as well as the severity of the symptoms that can be seen. In some cases, there may be symptoms that are present but cannot be seen even with x-rays. If the disease is mild, forced rest may be all the dog will need to allow his damaged leg to properly heal. In other cases, the vet will recommend immobilizing the limb with a sling as a way to speed the recovery.
If the dog is not seen by a vet until the disease is in more advanced stages, the dog may not be able to be helped. In situations such as this, they often remove the portion of the femoral head that is affected, which relieves a lot of the pain. Many times, recovery from such surgery may take up to a year before the dog can use the leg again. This time can be lessened if atrophy has not set in at the time of surgery. Pain medication and anti-inflammatory medicine often are given to the Lakeland terrier to help in the healing process.
It is recommended that therapy and medication be tried before surgery is done on the Lakeland terrier. Surgery in itself is hard on many dogs and should only be used as a last resort when other methods fail. It is important that your Lakeland terrier be seen by a veterinarian for regular checkups. The sooner the disease can be diagnosed, the better the prognosis. It is also important that dogs affected with Legge Perthes disease not be used for breeding.