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.


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