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Pressure Sore vs Hygroma


Is it a Pressure Sore or a Hygroma?

So you’re looking at your dog, maybe at the elbow or the point of the hip, and you’re seeing something on the skin that is not quite right. And, you’re wondering, “What is this thing?” Maybe you’ve googled ‘hygroma’ and you’re wondering if that’s what this thing is or if it’s something else called a pressure sore. If you’re wondering how to tell the difference, it’s actually super simple!

How to Identify a Hygroma

Hygromas form under the skin. Easy, right? It’s a fluid filled pocket, it’s under the skin and it’s usually covered with hair. Now, if a hygroma is very, very big or broken open, it can get a little confusing and you may need to talk to your veterinarian.

But, if it’s just a normal small hygroma, it’ll feel like a squishy, fluid-filled bump underneath the skin. It could be as big as a golf ball. I’ve seen them as big as tennis balls, but oftentimes they still have hair on them and they feel like a fluid-filled pocket underneath the skin.

How to Identify a Pressure Sore

A pressure sore, on the other hand, is an ulceration in the surface of the skin. These pressure sores are always open. They’re always red. They’re usually weeping. They often have crusts around the edges of them. They’re pretty gross, they’re angry and they’re weepy. The confusing thing is that pressure sores form in the same place as a hygroma: on the point of the elbow or on the point of the hip.

Pretty sure you’re dealing with a pressure sore? Here’s a great post from My Brown Newfies about the pressure sores and their stages of healing.

Pressure Sore vs Hygroma

Bottom line is if you have any kind of open or weeping sore on any bony prominence of your dog, then you need to see your local veterinarian for some help. But hopefully these tips are helpful in helping you determine whether you’re dealing with a hygroma or a pressure sore.


Check out Dr. Sarah’s Definitive Guide to Hygromas to learn more

Other articles you may find helpful:

Hygroma vs Callus: What’s the Difference?

Why Does My Dog Have a Bump on His Elbow?

Dr. Sarah Wooten

A lifelong dog lover, Dr. Wooten is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine with 16 years experience in small animal general practice.