Elbow Hygromas: Let Sleeping Dogs Lie — on Something Soft

Elbow hygromas are not tumors or calluses; they’re inflammation that can turn serious if not taken care of...

Dog with elbow hygroma

Though it’s not something we often think about: Dogs use their elbows a lot. And the bigger the dog, the more weight that ends up on their elbows when they’re resting.

Some dogs, especially large breeds, may develop elbow hygromas as a result. A hygroma forms under the skin as a fluid-filled, fibrous capsule in reaction to physical trauma on the dog’s soft tissues, including in areas like the elbows and hips.

Elbow hygromas are not tumors or calluses. They’re inflammation that can turn serious if not taken care of. Hygromas generally start off soft and small, but repeated trauma can lead to growth and hardening. There is a risk of infection, which requires medical treatment.

Elbow Hygroma Complications

Though pet owners may not even notice elbow hygromas in some cases — in other cases, they may grow very large or become infected. Infection usually happens after the hygroma ruptures and creates an open wound. If the hygroma gets infected, your veterinarian will likely prescribe antibiotics.

Surgery may also be something your vet recommends if the situation worsens. These scenarios are not easy to overcome, considering how often dogs use their elbows. Healing any wound, whether from surgery or the rupture, will likely prove challenging in a spot like this.

How to Prevent Elbow Hygromas

Since a hygroma is inflammation that’s basically a result of soft tissue stuck between a bone and a hard place, padding is the best kind of prevention. Make sure your dog has plenty of access to cushioned bedding like memory foam beds, especially if you have hard floors in your home and your dog spends a lot of time sleeping. Adding some floor padding may also help.

Keeping a dog’s weight in check is also important. Maintaining a healthy weight for your dog isn’t only good for his or her joints but also the areas covering the joints. The heavier a dog, the more weight that will be placed on the elbows and other bony spots that can lead to hygromas. This is why larger breeds may be more impacted.

Elbow padding is another way to help keep elbow hygromas from getting worse or from starting in the first place. Offering this direct cushioning can help relieve the pressure and give the swelling a chance to lessen.

DogLeggs Elbow Hygroma Protection

Add Some Cushion

The best way to keep elbow hygromas from turning serious is by preventing them in the first place or catching them early. Keep an eye on the state of your dog’s elbows (and other bony areas) and act quickly by adding some cushion to your dog’s environment and elbows as soon as you can.

Hero Braces, Veterinary Equipment, Benkelman, NE