when 90% of the ossification process is complete),changes in joint shape can only be accomplished by theproduction or resorption of bone.
Normal weight bearing through the coxofemoral joint is transmitted through the shaft of the femur, thefemoral neck and head, the acetabulum, the ilium, andthe sacrum. The load placed on the coxofemoral jointis determined by body weight, conformation, and ac-tivity.
When a dog is standing, 30% to 40% of thebody weight is distributed to the pelvic limbs.
Duringactivity, however, the coxofemoral joint load may ap-proach three times body weight.
The amount of force placed on the joint is influ-enced by the femoral neck–shaft angle of inclination,the length of the femoral neck, the position of thegreater trochanter, and the distance of the femoral headfrom the body’s center of gravity.
Increased stress onthe joint occurs with an increased angle of inclination(Figure 1), an increased angle of anteversion (Figure 2),a relatively short femoral neck, and distal or medial dis-placement of the greater trochanter.
Increased stress onthe joint potentiates laxity, incongruity, and DJD. Inaddition, if the craniodorsal aspect of the acetabulumdoes not meet the force vector of the femoral head per-pendicularly (because of slanting orincomplete coverage), subluxationresults
Dogs that have clinical signs at-tributable to CHD are commonly presented to veterinary practitionersfor evaluation. Dysplastic dogs with-out clinically evident abnormalitiesmay be evaluated during routinephysical examinations. A compre-hensive evaluation is essential foraccurate diagnosis, treatment, andprognosis. Other causes of hindlimblameness (e.g., cruciate ligament rup-ture, patellar luxation, osteochondro-sis, and trauma) must be ruled out.Evaluation should include signal-ment, history, complete generalphysical examination, complete or-thopedic examination, neurologicexamination, and radiography.
Signalment and History
Two distinct groups of dogs withCHD have been clinically recog-nized.
Dogs 4 to 12 months of age often present with a sudden onset of clinical signs.
These dogs ex-hibit a sudden decrease in activity in conjunction withpain and/or lameness in the pelvic limbs.
The cause of the pain and lameness has been attributed to joint effu-sion, tearing or stretching of the round ligament, syn-ovitis, acetabular microfractures, and loss of articularcartilage.
Most of these patients have a positiveOrtolani sign in the affected joints and atrophy of theassociated pelvic muscle mass.
In older dogs, clinical signs result from degenerativechanges in the joint.
Signs are usually insidious butmay present suddenly as the result of acute trauma tothe abnormal tissue.
Older dogs with CHD are oftenbilaterally lame, especially after exercise; joint crepitus,restricted range of motion (especially extension), andmuscle atrophy of the hindlimbs may be present.
A positive Ortolani sign is rare.
In both groups of dogs,clinical signs may include varying degrees of lameness,so-called bunny hopping, difficult rising, and abnormalstance or gait.
of coxofemoral joint palpation inpuppiesat 6 to 8 weeks of age is reportedly accurate inpredicting CHD in commonly affected breeds.
August 1996Small Animal
NORMAL WEIGHT BEARING
INCREASED JOINT STRESS
Schematic illustration of hand placement for eliciting of the Bardens’sign.