Medical News – Hygroma

HygromaWe often take in greyhounds that present a medical condition called a “hygroma”.  The Merck Medical Manual defines a hygroma as:

………….a false bursa that occurs over bony prominences and pressure points, especially in large breeds of dogs. Repeated trauma from lying on hard surfaces produces an inflammatory response, which results in a dense-walled, fluid-filled cavity. A soft, fluctuant, painless swelling develops over pressure points, especially the olecranon. If long-standing, severe inflammation may develop, and ulceration, infection, and fistulas may be present. The bursa contains a clear, yellow to red fluid.

Hygromas look serious; that is why most adopters feel that a trip to the vet is necessary.  They often are large and look very sore.  It looks like the dog has suffered an injury because the elbow is swollen.  However, they are usually not painful.

It’s not uncommon for greyhounds to have hygromas because they often lay on hard surfaces in their crates.  Many kennels use shredded computer paper and some use pieces of carpeting for bedding.  These items usually are fine for crate bedding because they are easy to keep clean.  The problem arises when the greyhound lies on the metal floor if the bedding gets moved around.  In additon, if you think of how many times a day a greyhound would put pressure on the elbow by lying down, it doesn’t take long to understand how a hygroma can develop.

Hygromas are found on the elbows because they come under the most pressure from hard surfaces.  This medical problem is not serious.  However, many veterinarians treat the problem aggressively and it’s not always necessary.  The common treatment is to drain the fluid from the lump.  This may help in the short run, but it may not solve the problem.  If the elbow comes under pressure from being on hard surfaces again, the hygroma will just come back.

The most radical treatment is to remove the hygroma entirely.  This should not be done unless it is deemed absolutely necessary.  Unless there is a medical problem associated with the hygroma, this type of treatment may be costly and ineffective. in the long run.

The best way to treat a hygroma is to leave it alone and give the greyhound lots of soft bedding and keep it off the hard floors.  Eventually the hygroma will shrink and even go away entirely.   We advise adopters to keep watch on the hygroma and make sure the hound is kept on soft bedding.

We hope that this information will help adopters when issues like this arise.  You may want to print this article and keep it in your hound’s adoption folder.


Some Common Misconceptions About Greyhounds

When we at Fast Friends Greyhound Rescue, Inc. talk to people about greyhound adoption, we are often surprised at what some people think or have heard about the breed.  Because of this, we put together what we feel is a comprehensive web site where people can go to learn more about greyhounds and to get informed about our adoption process.  We added a Questions and Answer page in addition to a myth busting page on our web site.  We feel that the more informed people are about greyhounds, the better decision they will make about whether or not to adopt a greyhound.

 Although our web site is very detailed, we still come up with some incorrect impressions that people (including some adopters) have about greyhounds.  We are listing some of those issues here and hope that this addresses some of those concerns:

 Greyhounds and Crates

 Many people hate crating a greyhound; they seem to think that it’s cruel and restricts a dog.  However, greyhounds live in crates when they go off to school (learn how to race) and it is their home until they retire from racing.  We recommend crating a new greyhound so that it can have a more seamless transition between the track and home.  Getting a dog out of the crate too soon can result in accidents, chewed personal items, separation anxiety and counter surfing.  Until you get to know your greyhound, you should always crate in the beginning.

 Greyhounds and Cats

 We are surprised that so many people think that because a greyhound is not cat friendly, that it cannot be taken on walks without a problem!  So many adopters want to adopt a cat friendly greyhound even if they don’t have cats.  They think (wrongly) that if they walk a not cat friendly dog in a neighborhood and it encounters other small animals, it will be impossible to control.  This misconception has caused many problems with groups placing greyhounds because it imposes an unfair burden on every greyhound to be cat friendly.  Many not cat friendly greyhounds never make it to adoption because of this thinking.  We know with certainty that many cat friendly greyhounds are hard to control outside when they see a small animal.  Conversely, many not cat safe greyhounds walk perfectly on a leash outside.  Every greyhound is different and will react differently outside on a walk. It’s up to each adopter to learn how their greyhound will react, be careful in the beginning and to do the proper training.  Training is the key to walking correctly.

 Greyhounds and Muzzles

 The average person who sees a dog wearing a muzzle assumes that dog is aggressive.  This is not so with greyhounds!  You probably have been told that greyhounds have thin skin and play nipping can result in serious injuries.  Unlike other breeds, greyhounds don’t have as much fur to buffer a play bite.  Therefore, we require that when more than one greyhound is running outside, all dogs should wear muzzles.

 Greyhound Muzzle Rubbing

 Almost all greyhounds wearing a muzzle will rub it against you or an object.  Most people interpret this as hating the muzzle.  Many people also think that making their greyhound wear a muzzle is cruel because the greyhound hates it (because it rubs its muzzle against things).  Greyhounds are used to wearing muzzles.  Muzzle rubbing should not be viewed as the greyhound hating the muzzle.  Get around a group of greyhounds not wearing muzzles and they will still rub their faces against you.  This is just what they do.  Take the time to learn dog behavior and don’t fall into the trap of interpreting your dog’s actions in human terms.

 Fostered Greyhounds Don’t Need to be Trained

 We try very hard to teach people about retired racing greyhounds.  We foster all of our greyhounds in homes to help them on their way to a forever home.  However, we need to reinforce the fact that no matter how long a dog has been in foster care and in a home, a newly adopted greyhound still must be trained to live in its new home.  We remember to tell new adopters that there will be a transition period and that training is absolutely necessary to get a greyhound off to a good start.  Our belief is that the more work a new adopter puts into their hound in the beginning, the payoff will be worth it in the long run.  Therefore, new adopters need to be patient and accept that it will take several months for the greyhound to learn how to live in its new home.  They must accept the fact that there may be bumps along the way and be willing to work through the problems.  Asking for a dog that has been fostered is a good idea but the adopter must know that the dog will still need to be trained to live in its new home.

When we established our organization in early 2005, we set out on our mission then to do what is best for greyhounds and to find them “forever” homes.  We are still as dedicated to that mission now as we were then.  We hope that people applying to adopt a greyhound will agree with us and give our greyhounds the best home as they certainly deserve it!