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A hygroma is a problem of young, large-breed dogs.

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 prominences. 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 prominence 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 animal'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 introduce 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.

Talk to your veterinarian about the hygroma and what he or she recommends as far as specific treatment for your dog.

The information on this page was obtained from the site www.foothillsvet.com