Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Hygroma (hydroma)

Contributor(s): Joseph Harari

Introduction

  • Cause: develop over pressure points due to repeat trauma.
  • Commonly seen in large/giant breeds over point of olecranon in the elbow.
  • Signs: soft, fluid-filled subcutaneous swelling over bony prominences.
  • Diagnosis: signs, history, biopsy.
  • Treatment: conservative, occasionally surgical resection required.
  • Prognosis: generally good, although rarely resolves spontaneously.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Protective response to pressure induced ischemia, necrosis and inflammation.
  • May develop with other concurrent orthopedic problems secondarily to increased trauma if difficulty laying down.

Predisposing factors

General
  • Large or giant breeds with higher bodyweight.
  • Environmental factors, ie sleeping on cement, wood or brick.
  • Concurrent orthopedic problems resulting in stiffness rising and lying down.

Specific

Pathophysiology

  • Repeat mild trauma over bony prominences.
  • Hygromas develop after repeat trauma-induced necrosis and inflammation over pressure points.
  • Known as a false or aquired bursae.
  • Histologically characterized by cystic spaces surrounded by dense walls of granulation tissue, the inner layer consisting of a dense layer of fibroblasts.
  • Initially soft, fluid-filled swellings, may become abscesses or granulomas - especially if secondarily infected.

Timecourse

  • Chronic disease with insidious onset.
  • Months to years.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Strother S V & Jones P G (1985) Treatment of canine cystic hygroma. JAVMA 187 (8), 794 PubMed.
  • Johnston D E (1975) Hygroma of the elbow in dogs. JAVMA 167 (3), 213-9 PubMed.
  • Newton C D et al (1974) Surgical closures of elbow hygromas in the dog. JAVMA 164 (2), 147-9 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Pope E R (1998)Surgical treatment of hygroma of the elbow.In:Current techniques in small animal surgery.4th edn. Bojrab. pp 622.


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