If you’ve recently found a hygroma on your dog’s elbow, don’t worry! There are various home remedies you can use to help your dog alleviate its elbow hygroma and even prevent future occurrences.
These include providing a soft bed or place to rest, lining his crate with padding or carpet, using elbow pads to protect his elbows, and limiting his time on hard surfaces. You can also put up a baby gate to prevent your dog from having access to hard surfaces.
Below, we’ll explain the best home remedies for a dog with elbow hygroma.
Overview of Elbow Hygroma
Hygromas are fluid-filled lumps that form on a dog’s skin above bony areas and pressure points. They vary in size and appearance, but most often take the form of a lump on your dog’s elbow.
Large-breed dogs are more likely to develop hygromas than smaller dogs. Hygromas are more common in elderly dogs because of their prolonged contact with hard surfaces, while in puppies, they are likely the result of an injury.
When a dog lies on a hard surface, they experience a type of trauma that triggers an inflammatory reaction. This leads to the formation of a fluid-filled lump. Hygromas are often soft to the touch, and swelling usually takes place over pressure points.
When hygromas aren’t treated, inflammation can lead to complications like fistula formation, granulomas, and even ulceration and infection. While hygromas worsen with time if left untreated, they can be easily controlled and even prevented from infecting surrounding tissue if caught early enough.
Hygroma vs. Tumor
Hygromas are not the same as tumors. They develop when there is continual tissue stress over a bony protrusion. This is why hygromas typically appear on the inside of the elbow.
Repetitive trauma from lying on hard surfaces like hardwood, tile, or concrete can cause an inflammatory response in the subcutaneous tissue around the elbow, especially in giant dogs.
The body attempts to cushion the injured region by forming a “pillow” of protective tissue. If the trauma persists, the hygroma will continue to enlarge.
Sedentary dogs who spend a lot of time lying down are at a higher risk of developing hygromas because they are subjected to pressure for longer periods. However, any gigantic or large-breed dog, regardless of age, should avoid sleeping or reclining on hard surfaces to reduce the risk of hygroma.
What Causes Hygromas?
Hygroma is a fluid-filled sac on your dog’s skin immediately above the bone that can develop after repeated stress from lying on hard surfaces like hardwood floors or a patio or balcony outside.
Here are some of the most common factors that lead to hygromas:
Dogs with a habit of lying on hard surfaces may develop an inflammatory response around the elbow joint due to repeated trauma.
To prevent additional damage, a dog’s body will create a fluid-filled lump to cushion the joint. It’s important to provide your dog with safe places to rest in the house, especially if you don’t have any carpeted rooms.
You also need to restrict the amount of time your dog spends lying on hard surfaces. If your dog tends to lie on the kitchen floor to cool off in the summer, consider providing alternative, softer resting options to protect its elbows from pressure.
Lack of Mobility
Fluid pools in one part of a dog’s body when it can’t move about freely, as occurs with hygromas after surgery. Even though your dog should rest following surgery, your veterinarian may recommend an activity routine to help reduce the risk of hygromas developing in the meantime.
Some health issues might also reduce a dog’s mobility. Therefore, if you don’t want your dog to become less active, it’s important to treat any underlying health concerns as soon as possible.
Hygromas are common in older dogs and those with arthritic elbows, since it’s painful for them to lie down on the floor. This results in a more forceful impact, which can result in an elbow injury.
Large breeds have an increased risk of hygromas due to the additional pressure their bones experience when sitting or lying down on hard surfaces. The greater your dog’s weight, the more strain on its joints and ligaments.
Even if your dog is at its ideal weight, it can run the risk of developing hygromas as a result of sleeping on hard surfaces. Continuous pressure on the bone adds up over time.
Too Much Time in the Crate
Hygromas are more common in dogs who spend extended periods in cages, where the hard plastic flooring can aggravate existing joint problems. Although this piece of hard plastic is simple to scrub clean if your puppy has an accident, it is not the most comfortable surface for them to sleep on.
As such, it’s important to provide bedding or blankets for your dog when it’s confined in a crate. This will help to make their elbows, joints, and other bony regions more relaxed and padded.
Minimal or Short Hair
Your dog’s fur might provide extra padding for its knees and elbows. However, because their limbs are less covered in hair, short-haired dogs may be more susceptible to hygromas.
Most hygromas begin tiny but progress over time if left untreated. If you neglect your dog’s hygroma, it may begin to leak white or colored fluid, indicating an infection. Hygromas aren’t painful, so a dog’s tendency to scratch itself or lick the affected region could mean they have an infection.
Infected hygromas, like hot spots, may feel warm and make your dog uneasy when touched. They may become rigid as the infection progresses, making lying down a real pain for your pet.
Home Remedies for Elbow Hygromas
Next, we’ll discuss the best home remedies for elbow hygromas in dogs.
If you want to keep your dog’s hygroma from getting bigger, infected, and uncomfortable, you can buy elbow pads made especially for that purpose. The size of these elbow pads can be adjusted to ensure a snug and comfortable fit for your dog. Many dogs have no problem tolerating protective elbow pads.
If the hygroma becomes infected or too large to manage, medical intervention, including antibiotics, may be required before surgical removal.
Since the hygroma’s underlying cause is not addressed during surgery, postoperative protection of the affected area is essential for a speedy recovery. Your dog’s veterinarian is the best person to advise you on how to treat the hygroma.
Comfortable Places to Rest
You will need to provide several soft places for your dog to rest throughout the house because he or she can no longer lie on hard floors. Affected dogs would greatly benefit from sleeping on an orthopedic mattress that is seven inches thick and provides extra cushioning for the joints.
Bandages with Padding
Your veterinarian can demonstrate how to properly wrap the hygroma in thick, padded bandages. Protecting the hygroma from further discomfort and pressure by keeping it cushioned can allow the body to begin the healing process. With less severe hygromas, a padded bandage is the best option.
Veterinarian Treatment for Hygroma
Below, we’ll explain the potential treatments for dogs with elbow hygroma.
Your dog’s veterinarian may suggest surgical drainage and removal of a hygroma if the growth is particularly large, painful, or resistant to other forms of treatment. These operations can be performed on an outpatient basis or may necessitate a single night in the clinic.
Hygroma drainage surgery is performed under deep sedation or, in some cases, general anesthesia, depending on the dog’s state and the vet. Surgery involves inserting Penrose drains (soft, flexible rubber tubes) into the hygroma and leaving them there for a few weeks to allow the hygroma to drain and heal.
Administering medication, changing bandages, stopping physical activity throughout the healing phase, and preventing the dog from removing bandages (with a cone or sleeve t-shirt) are all part of the aftercare process.
Hygroma surgery requires careful attention to the aftercare of the incision. After surgery, you should restrict your dog’s activity and monitor for signs of infection every day. Specifically, be on the lookout for redness, odor, and discharge.
Neglecting proper post-surgery care can result in unpleasant and costly complications. These complications may include infection, inflammation, and wound reopening. Inform your veterinarian if you have an active dog, and she may recommend a sedative to help restrict your dog’s activity level.
Antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and painkillers are all effective treatments for hygromas. Medication for dog hygromas includes the following:
- Amoxicillin (oral antibiotic)
- Clavamox (oral antibiotic)
- Cephalosporins (oral antibiotic)
- Carprofen (oral anti-inflammatory)
- Tramadol (oral anti-inflammatory)
- Fentanyl patch (injectable pain medication)
- Morphine (injectable pain medication)
- Hydromorphone (injectable pain medication)
Hygroma Treatment Costs
A fine needle aspirate, physical examination, and office visit typically cost between $100 and $150.
If your veterinarian suspects an infected hygroma, they may suggest a hygroma fluid culture to identify the offending bacteria and prescribe an appropriate medication. Antibiotic and culture sensitivity testing can cost an extra $75 to $150.
Medication costs vary widely based on factors including your dog’s weight and the specific drugs your vet recommends. The price of antibiotics could cost anywhere from $30 to $125, depending on weight, treatment length, the antibiotic recommended, and your region.
Normally, the cost of a brand-name drug will be higher than that of a generic.
If your dog has surgery to remove a hygroma, the cost of care could go up. The price of surgery might range anywhere from $750 to $2,000 based on the size of the hygroma as well as the degree of difficulty involved in its removal. Your dog’s size and your location may also affect the final price.
Elbow Hygroma Prevention
Providing your dog with a comfortable place to rest will help prevent hygromas. Common pressure points for your dog to develop these lumps include the elbow, ankle joint, hip joint, and near the tail.
Hygromas are more common in dogs that spend extended periods resting on hard surfaces. Staying in one position increases pressure on bony areas, raising the risk of hygroma development. Although hygromas are more common in older, less active dogs, hygromas can develop in dogs of any age.
Avoiding injury to the bony regions of the dog’s body is the most effective way to prevent hygroma. Soft padding, such as pillows or elbow protectors, can reduce the risk of developing hygromas.
Even if you have carpeting, it’s still important to provide your dog with soft places to rest so they won’t have to rest their elbows on the floor. Overall, you want to make it so that when they sit or lie down, the pressure applied to their elbows, hocks, knees, and tails is minimal.
Easy Steps You Can Take
- Putting blankets or bedding in kennels so that dogs have a more comfortable place to rest.
- Providing a cozy bed for your dog so they can relax at any time.
- Keeping your pet active and healthy by providing a balanced diet and regular playtime.
- Avoid prolonged resting in one posture, which could cause undue stress on the bones.
- Protection for your dog’s elbow while he or she lays down.
- Installing a baby gate to prevent your dog from accessing the hard floors or putting down some foam flooring in the areas where your dog spends the most time.
- Maintaining a healthy weight for your dog.
Increased weight means increased stress on the elbows, knees, and tail when a dog relaxes in a seated or lying position. Hygromas are more common in overweight dogs, but this problem can be avoided by keeping an eye on your dog’s weight and providing assistance with weight loss if necessary.
Your dog’s health may also factor into why they’re so inactive. Arthritic dogs, for instance, tend to lay down more frequently and for longer periods than healthy dogs since the pain makes it harder for them to lift themselves.
To avoid the development of hygromas, it is important to treat any underlying health conditions that may be contributing to your dog’s inactivity.
Frequently Asked Questions
While you may not be able to treat your dog’s hygroma at home, generally speaking, you should bandage the hygroma after it has been drained. The more padded it is, the better it can heal.
When a fluid-filled hygroma bursts, it can develop an infection.
You can expect to pay at least $500 for a veterinarian to treat a hygroma with surgery. The price will partially depend on the size of your dog and the severity of the hygroma.
Conclusion for “Hygroma Dog Elbow Home Remedies”
So, now that you know the various home remedies for dog elbow hygroma, if you spot a hygroma on your dog’s body, you can use these in conjunction with the treatment prescribed by your veterinarian.
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Learn more by watching “Elbow Hygroma in Dogs” down below:
Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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