There are many orthopedic conditions in dogs that have a genetic basis. Pictured below are the front legs of a mixed breed dog. This happy-go-lucky guy has a unique confirmation of his front legs. Study the image and then answer the following questions: 1) What is the name of this condition? 2) What breed is most commonly affected? 3) What causes it to occur? 4) How will this condition affect the dog’s long-term health?
Diagnosis: Angular Limb Deformity – Valgus
Valgus is a term used to describe the outward bowing of a leg. When it occurs in the back legs, the condition is often described as “knock kneed” or “cow hocked”. It occurs during the rapid growth phase when the two bones in the front leg, the radius and ulna, grow at uneven rates causing the leg to bow. I see it most in Bassets, Corgi’s and Dachshunds where it is an inherited condition. Other breeds may also develop a valgus limb deformity after damaging their growth plates as a puppy.
Angular limb deformity causes abnormal weight bearing and excessive stress on the joints. Affected dogs often suffer from a mechanical lameness meaning they simply can’t move the joint to walk normally. Over time, osteoarthritis develops causing severe pain. My next blog will cover treatment options for this condition.