If you have noticed a change in the skin on your dog’s elbow, you’ll very likely want to know what is it.
It may or may not be something serious.
The best person to diagnose any health issue for you dog is a vet, but there may be some signs/and or symptoms you might be able to recognise that might give some sort of indication as to what is going on on your dog’s elbow.
In this guide, we run through 4 types of dog elbow skin growths & conditions, with explanations of each, and how serious they might each be (although a vet is the only one who can give you a professional opinion on this).
We also look at potential ways that dog elbow skin growths and conditions might best managed and treated.
Let’s take a closer look!
(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s)
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4 Types Of Dog Elbow Skin Growths & Conditions To Be Aware Of
First, A Word Of Caution
If you suspect your dog’s elbow growth/condition to be a serious health risk in any way, or you plan on pursuing treatment, you should take your dog to the vet to get it assessed.
Onto the growths and conditions …
1) Dog Elbow Calluses
A dog elbow callus is usually an ugly looking rough and dry layer of skin growth over your dog’s elbow.
It is usually caused by rubbing of another surface on the dog’s skin, which in turn causes the harder rough callused skin to grow as protection over the soft skin.
Dog’s that lay on their fronts might develop calluses lower on the elbow, whilst dog’s that lay on their side might develop a callus on the side of their elbows or hocks.
A callus is usually not cause for serious concern by itself.
But, if it gets cracked or split, it can ulcerate, bleed and get infected – in which case it can me a more serious problem that a vet might need to look at.
In terms of different ways to treat non serious dog elbow calluses …
For regular calluses, some owners might choose to use a dog elbow cream or butter, or even coconut oil – which can add moisture and minerals to the skin, and soften it.
Examples of dog elbow callus creams and butters are:
- Blissful Dog Elbow Butter (on Amazon)
- ResQ Organics Pet Skin Treatment (on Amazon)
- NaturVet Tender Foot Cream (on Amazon)
The use of dog elbow protectors, sleeves, pads, and wraps are also an option to provide padding for an elbow.
Along with a dog elbow butter or cream, or protectors/sleeves, a soft dog bed with good support, or a soft sleeping surface (if your dog sleeps on a lounge of another surface) can also help prevent a callus from getting rougher or growing bigger by protecting the skin from more abrasion.
Surgery or professional medical intervention is the other option for an elbow callus if it’s serious enough, or if it’s required.
2) Dog Elbow Pyoderma
Pyoderma is a bacterial infection of your dog’s skin.
It usually looks like excessively scaly skin with hairs poking through it (so it can look like a callus).
Or, more serious infection might lead to blood or pus forming on and coming from the skin.
Pressure points, such as elbows and hocks, are prone to infections, possibly because of hair follicle irritation and rupture due to chronic repeated pressure (on hard surfaces like your floors for example).
But, bacteria can infect and scale the skin in a number of ways.
Because pyoderma is an infection, it is best diagnosed and treated by your dog’s vet.
If you are not sure whether your dog has a callus or pyoderma, take them to a vet just to be safe.
Vets will usually prescribe antibiotics and maybe some type of medical skin shampoo or skin treatment for the pyoderma infection.
3) Dog Elbow Hygromas
Hygromas are swellings or sacs, that are essentially fluid filled capsules.
The outside skin may look normal, or it may be rough and lose hair.
They are caused by repeated impact on the bony area of your dog’s elbow by another hard surface – usually your floor or whatever they are laying on.
Hydrogomas by themselves don’t pose a threat to a dog’s health, unless they split or become infected.
Preventing your dog’s elbow from further impact or trauma by providing a soft sleeping surface (a soft dog bed with good support), or using a soft dog elbow pad/sleeve, can help the elbow over time.
Surgery can sometimes be performed on the hygroma where placing a drain inside it (if the sac is large) allows the sac to drain over time.
Usually you won’t know whether a swelling/sac on your dog’s elbow is a hygroma or a tumor, so it’s best to see a vet with help in figuring out which one it is.
As a bit of a guide, hygroma sacs can be softer to touch (as they are usually filled with fluid), whereas a tumor might be harder and firmer.
4) Dog Elbow Skin Tumors & Cancer
There are two types main skin tumors to be aware of – benign, and malignant.
If you are concerned in any way that a tumor could be malignant, see a vet.
Benign tumors are not a major threat to the health of your dog and include things like warts, cysts and skin tags.
Malignant tumors on the other hand are a cause for worry and include cancerous or other types of potentially life threatening tumors.
A wart for example can be frozen off, whereas cancerous tumors will need tests, and usually chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Tumors usually look like lumps or growths, and are usually firmer to touch than fluid filled hygromas.
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