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Find information on animal health topics, written for the veterinary professional.

Carpal Hygroma in Cattle

By Paul R. Greenough, FRCVS, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

Carpal hygroma is a localized swelling of tissues, including the precarpal bursa, dorsal to the carpal joint. It results from intermittent mild trauma to the precarpal area caused by lack of bedding or a poorly designed manger. Brucella abortus may be isolated from the false bursa of some cases in countries where this organism has not been controlled. The lesion is a firm swelling, possibly fluctuating and up to several inches in diameter, located over the dorsal aspect of the carpus. The hygroma is a lesion that is very difficult to resolve. The first step is to ascertain radiographically whether there is more than one cavity. Each cavity should be drained and infiltrated with a long-acting corticosteroid preparation. Surgical removal is messy, with little guarantee of a successful outcome. Introducing irritant materials into the cavity has had uncertain results. If the animal is milking and eating well, hygromas should be left untreated.