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Prevention and Treatment of Calluses on Your Dog's Elbow

Prevention and Treatment of Calluses on Your Dog's Elbow
Calluses are thick, toughened areas of skin that form to protect a bony prominence from repeated friction or pressure. Dogs that sleep on hard surfaces are more likely to develop calluses on their elbow or hock joints. This DogAppy write-up provides information on the prevention and treatment of calluses in dogs.
Smita Pandit
Large dog breeds, especially the ones spending most of the time lying down due to medical issues, are more likely to develop calluses. Calluses can go unnoticed in large-haired dogs, which is why owners must inspect the parts of the body that are susceptible to calluses.

The term 'callus' refers to an area of skin that has become relatively hard and thick due to repeated friction or pressure. The formation of calluses is basically a protective mechanism employed by the body to protect a bony prominence. Calluses are typically seen on the elbow, which is a part of the body that is subjected to repeated friction or pressure. However, they can also develop on other parts of the dog's body, such as the hock or the hips.

Basically, friction or pressure results from lying down or sleeping on the floor or hard surface for long periods. Thus, dogs that are not active are more susceptible. Also, dogs might prefer to sleep on cooler surfaces during hot weather. A callus itself is not a cause of serious concern, but problems can arise if it gets ulcerated. Unfortunately, calluses can turn into pressure sores or hygromas. These occur in the event of excessive trauma to the area due to friction, which in turn leads to inflammation. Hygromas are fluid-filled sacs that could develop on the joints due to repeated pressure on joints. These can be a cause of serious concern. Thus, it is advisable to take steps to prevent them in the first place.

How to Treat Calluses on a Dog's Elbow

As mentioned earlier, a callus is a toughened overgrowth or an area of skin that develops due to friction. So, the best way to prevent a callus from forming on a dog's elbow would be to prevent friction. Here are some preventive measures and home remedies for calluses in dogs:

◆ First of all, the most effective precautionary measure would be to ensure that your dog is sleeping on a soft, well-padded, thick bedding. This will help reduce friction on the areas that are prone to developing calluses. You can also get an orthopedic bed for your dog.

◆ Some dogs prefer to sleep or lie down on the floor. In such cases, the owners will have to encourage the dog to sleep on the bedding. So, place the bedding at your dog's favorite spot. You can put toys around the bedding.

◆ Make sure that the bedding material is washable. Washing the bedding frequently would lower the risk of infections.

◆ Calluses are more common in larger breeds or dogs that are overweight. In case of overweight dogs, there's more stress on the elbow joint as the dog rests on a hard surface. The risk of calluses is higher in dogs that are inactive. So, don't let your pet spend most of its time lying down. Ensure that your dog stays active, as that will also help in preventing your pet from becoming overweight.

◆ Calluses could occur in case of dogs that are ill or recovering from a surgery. If your pet has just undergone a surgery, consult the veterinarian regarding the period for which the dog needs complete rest. Thereafter, start taking your dog out for walks.

◆ In case of dogs that are bedridden, make sure that they are not lying in the same position for extended periods. It is advisable to change their position.

◆ It's the responsibility of the owners to look for signs of skin problems or other ailments. Calluses can be easily identified. Those who have long-haired dogs should inspect the dog more often, as the callus might get concealed by hair.

◆ Application of Vaseline or creams that are rich in vitamin E can prove beneficial. Topical application of medicated creams will prevent the risk of infections. Applying such creams will also help soften the affected skin. In case of large calluses, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian.

◆ Another preventive measure that can be followed is to apply elbow pads on your pet. These pads help prevent friction, thereby lowering the risk of calluses or hygromas.

On a concluding note, surgery is usually not recommended for the treatment of calluses in dogs, unless there are complications. The aforementioned preventive measures can help lower the risk of calluses, whereas topical application of medicated creams can help soften and heal the affected skin. It's the responsibility of the owner to watch out for signs of calluses or other ailments. If you find an ulcerated, open, oozing sore on the callused area, it could be indicative of an infection. Under such circumstances, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian at the earliest.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a veterinarian.