Most common in large breed dogs, a hygroma is a fluid-filled sack that develops over bony prominences and pressure points. Hygromas are caused by repeated trauma on hard surfaces. Typically from a dog roughly dropping to the floor to lay down. The repeated impact from hitting the ground can cause swelling and inflammation in bony areas like the elbow. Although typically painless, if left untreated hygromas can eventually lead to ulcers and infection forming.
Common Area for Hygroma Formation:
- Side of Dog’s Hock or Ankle Joint
- Hip Joint
- Elbow (most common)
Hygromas are more common in sedentary and spend the majority of their time lying down. The more time spent in one position, the more pressure is applied to the bony area. Senior and handicapped dogs are at a higher risk for hygromas.
When caught early, hygromas are easily treated. A small hygroma can be drained and bandaged as it heals. If left untreated it can lead to tissue erosion, severe inflammation, abscesses/ulcers and infection. Severe damage from an advanced hygroma can lead to surgical draining and flushing. More sever ulcers may require extensive drainage, surgical removal or even skin grafting.
Should the hygroma become infected, it will need to be treated with antibiotics and removed surgically. Your Veterinarian will help you to decide how best to proceed with your dog’s treatment.
Preventing a Hygroma
The best way to treat a hygroma is to prevent further trauma. Older dogs weaken as they age, no longer able to slowly lower to the ground they drop to the floor suddenly. This sudden impact, repeated over and over again can lead to hygromas forming.
Cushion your dog’s impact. Provide your senior dog with soft bedding and padding over pressure points that may be affected. If your dog shies away from using a dog bed, purchase padded flooring tiles (interlocking tiles used in a gym or day care) that they can lay on for comfort. With your awareness of the problem and a few small adjustments hygromas are completely preventable.
Hygroma Hip Solution
If hygromas or ulcers form on your dog’s hip joint, use the Walkin’ Hip-EEZ with Hip Donut Attachment. The Donut attaches to the interior of the hip brace, cushioning the area directly over the hip joint to protect the hip from impact. Not only will the donut protect the injured joint it will help prevent future hygroma from forming. The best part, the Hip-EEZ is comfortable and can be worn for extended periods of time.
Hygroma Elbow Solution
If your dog will tolerate it, elbow pads can be worn over the elbows to provide extra cushion. If your dog does not like wearing padding or has a tendency to chew, provide them with a comfortable, padded bed.
Hygroma Hock Solution
To prevent hygroma from forming on your dog’s hock joint or ankle, use the Walkin’ Hock Hugger.
This neoprene wrap gently hugs and supports the joint, providing a barrier between your dog’s ankle bone and the hard floor. It’s flexible and comfortable to wear all day.