Harlequin Haven Great Dane Rescue

Harlequin Haven
Great Dane Rescue

11567 St. Rt. 774
Bethel, Ohio 45106

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Elbow Hygroma

A hygroma is a fluid-filled cavity, encased by dense fibrous tissue, which develops under the skin on the side of one or both elbows. Hygromas are caused by repeated trauma over bony areas. Hygromas are typically non-painful swellings, but they become very painful if they become infected. Most hygromas occur in young, large-breed dogs before a protective callus has time to form over the bony elbow of the front legs or other bony areas. Hygromas can occur over any bony area or pressure point, including the pelvis or hocks.

Treatment for a non-infected hygroma is the elimination of the repeated trauma. The use of a soft, padded bed, or bandage over the bony area is often very beneficial. It is important to keep the dog's weight in a normal range to reduce the pressure on the bony areas, therefore helping to reduce the hygroma. The removal of the fluid by aspiration with a needle and syringe is often of very little benefit and may produce an infection.

Surgery is usually avoided, unless the hygroma is infected and in need of drainage, or if there are other complications requiring procedures such as skin grafting. If surgery is necessary, complications can occur, and will need treatment, which may require repeated visits to the veterinarian. Antibiotics and soaks may also be given to treat infected hygromas.

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