ISSN 2398-2993      

Hygroma: carpal / tarsal

obovis

Introduction

  • Cause: found over pressure points due to repetitive trauma, or secondary to a subcutaneous hematoma. May occasionally be congenital and is linked to infection with Brucellosis Brucellosis.
  • Signs: soft, fluid-filled subcutaneous cavity or bursal swelling over bony prominences such as the carpus or tarsus. Usually painless and not causing lameness.
  • Diagnosis: signs, history, exclusion of other causes of swelling.
  • Treatment: conservative.
  • Prognosis: generally good, although rarely resolves spontaneously.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Usually chronic, repetitive, direct, blunt trauma to the dorsal aspect of the carpus and/or the lateral aspect of the hock.
  • Acute trauma may also lead to development.
  • May occasionally be congenital.
  • Can be uni- or bilateral.

Predisposing factors

  • Repetitive trauma when lying and rising, especially in cubicle systems where metal work positioning may be inappropriate and or the bedding surface is inadequate and impacts pressure points on carpus or hock. May also be seen in grazing animals during the summer months when the ground is particularly hard.
  • Subcutaneous hematoma formation may precede hygroma formation.
  • In countries where Brucellosis Brucellosis is present, chronic infection may lead to hygroma formation.

Pathophysiology

  • Formed by the accumulation of transudate following repeated trauma over bony prominences.
  • In chronic cases, a subcutaneous acquired bursa forms, which is lined by secretory cells; sometimes called a false bursa.
  • If the hygroma becomes sufficiently large it can mechanically restrict the range of movement of the joint.
  • Adhesions and fibrosis may ensue and restrict normal movement.
  • May become secondarily infected → discharge, abscessation, fistulae, granulation tissue formation. High risk of joint infection if hock swellings are secondarily infected. Joint infections will present as acute lameness and a hot, swollen joint Joint lavage: through-and-through  

Timecourse

  • Usually chronic with insidious onset, but occasionally can occur rapidly following severe acute trauma.

Epidemiology

  • May be seen in a large proportion of the herd if cow comfort is compromised such as through poor cubicle comfort or inappropriate cubicle dimensions . For this reason, hygroma frequency is used as a cow comfort indicator in health and welfare auditing schemes.

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.
  • Fero E, Juma A, Koni A et al (2020) The seroprevalence of brucellosis and molecular characterization of Brucella species circulating in the beef cattle herds in Albania. PLoS One 15 (3), e0229741 PubMed.
  • Sadiq M B, Ramanoon S Z, Mossadeq W M S et al (2017) Association between lameness and indicators of dairy cow welfare based on locomotion scoring, body and hock condition, leg hygiene and lying behavior. Animals 7 (11), 79 PubMed.
  • Potterton S L, Green M J, Harris J et al (2011) Risk Factors associated with hair loss, ulceration, and swelling at the hock in freestall-housed UK dairy herds. J Dairy Sci 94 (6), 2952-2963 PubMed.
  • Bankole A A, Saegerman C, Berkvens D et al (2010) Phenotypic and genotypic characterisation of Brucella strains isolated from cattle in the Gambia. Vet Rec 166 (24), 753-756 PubMed.
  • Piguet M, Steiner A, Eicher R & Martig J (1997) Surgical treatment of carpal hygroma in cattle: 17 cases (1990-1994). Schweiz Arch Tierheilkd 139 (5), 210-216 PubMed.

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