Swollen elbows are extremely common in dogs. The most common causes include calluses and elbow hygromas. It’s important to understand the difference between the two, as each has it’s own treatment.
Calluses are a thickening of the skin. They are common on the elbows and other bony prominences. Calluses are typically dry, although they can break open and bleed. They are more common in large breeds and overweight pets.
Lying on hard surfaces causes calluses to develop. Calluses are not usually serious, although they can spread to the bone or become infected. Prevention is generally easier than treatment.
Provide your dog with a soft place to sleep. This might be a blanket, pillow, or foam mattress. You might need to experiment with a few different things in order to figure out what your pet prefers. Put bedding in various places so that your dog always has a soft place to lie. It might be best to allow your dog to sleep indoors. This can make them more comfortable while they heal and encourage them to avoid lying on rough surfaces such as concrete.
It’s important that you help your dog maintain a healthy weight. This is crucial to their overall health and can reduce the occurrence and/or severity of calluses. Your veterinarian can help you develop a weight management plan.
An elbow hygroma is a fluid-filled swelling of the elbow. Hygromas can be quite large and develop suddenly. Hygromas are more serious than calluses and require a visit to your veterinarian.
Treatment generally involves draining the hygroma and wrapping it tightly. Keeping the area wrapped prevents the hygroma from coming back and protects the elbow from infection.
Like calluses, lying on rough surfaces can cause hygromas to develop. Providing your dog with a soft place to sleep and helping them maintain a healthy weight is the best way to prevent hygromas.
It’s important to note that any swelling warrants a trip to the vet. A lump that grows quickly could be a sign of cancer.
Claws N Paws Day Spa offers pet grooming for dogs and cats. Please call 714-962-1005 to schedule a grooming appointment.