It can be really annoying to see a wart on your dog. Depending on where it is located, a dog’s wart can also be very uncomfortable for him!
Although it is not life threatening in most cases, a visit to the vet may be necessary to determine how to get rid of the growth if it does not go away on its own.
For more information about canine warts, why they occur and the best treatment options, we spoke to Dr. Hilary Jones, a veterinarian with DodoVet, and Dr. Fiona Lee, a veterinary dermatologist at the Pet Dermatology Center.
Why do warts occur in dogs?
Warts are very uncommon in puppies. A wart will appear on your dog when he gets a viral infection called canine papillomavirus or papillomavirus.
“The virus that causes warts is contagious,” Dr. Jones told The Dodo. “It can be transmitted from dog to dog, from direct contact with an infected dog, or from contact with an infected dog’s environment (bedding, food bowls, toys, etc.).”
Most dogs will be exposed to HPV at some point in their lives. Some dogs carry the virus and do not show symptoms of warts. Other puppies will get warts but are able to resolve the infection on their own within weeks to months as their immune system develops immunity to the virus (although not the most pleasant picture, the wart will fall off on its own).
“In dogs, there are at least seven strains of viruses, which can affect different sites (examples include the inside of the mouth, on the skin, eyelids, genital area, and foot pads), and will have different manifestations (a typical cauliflower-like wart, Cob Inverse Dr. Lee told The Dodo.
When you are worried about dog warts
Your dog’s immune system is a major factor when it comes to whether or not he will get warts.
“Pups that have an immature immune system and dogs that are undergoing chemotherapy, for example, will have a suppressed immune system and will be more prone to warts,” Dr. Lee said.
With a weakened immune system, papillomas may not shrink and can cause additional problems such as secondary infections and discomfort. Just as in humans, some HPV lesions can turn into cancer.
Diagnostics and treatment of dog warts
The best way to diagnose any skin mass is by histopathology, which examines a biopsy on a glass slide under a microscope.
“In general, for any skin lump, if it grows rapidly, changes, bleeds (erosion/ulcerated), becomes infected or bothers the patient, it is best to have it biopsied and submitted for histopathology,” Dr. Lee said. “For a diagnosis of a complex biopsy, it is recommended to present it to a dermatologist.”
As mentioned above, in most cases, dog warts resolve on their own over the course of two months as the immune system develops immunity to the virus. But if the tumor persists or becomes uncomfortable for your pup, it may need to be surgically removed.
While patience is what you need most when it comes to dealing with your dog’s wart, be sure to contact your vet if it does not go away or if the growth is changing – further diagnosis may be needed. Here’s to getting your pup back to normal in no time!
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