This post is a guide on dealing with warts on dogs in general. If you are looking for details regarding warts on a dog’s Paw, mouth, lips, face, nose or back, we have it all covered. Get to know the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatments to get rid of the lesions and for how long the papillomavirus is contagious.
Warts on Dogs
Warts on dogs are tiny lumps that grow on the surface of the skin. While this description is too generalized, a wart should be reserved to describe harmless lumps that occur as a result of the papillomavirus. They are therefore also referred to as papillomatous growths.
The lumps cause no harm to your dog. Their only issue is the cosmetic alteration of your dog’s appearance. Puppies, senior dogs, and dogs with a weak immune system are most susceptible to getting warts.
Warts on Dogs Mouth
When a dog gets warts on the mouth, they cause drooling, discomfort, bad breath as well as make it hard for the dog to grab, chew or swallow. This should prompt treatment so as to eliminate the discomfort as well as ensure the dog resumes eating.
Warts on Dogs Leg
When warts attack the skin, they tend to appear on the feet and lower legs. Where they form on the toes and footpads, they can be annoying. The associated discomfort could see your dog lick and chew on its paws. As a result, pain, bleeding and walking difficulty could be experienced. Infections could also result. Seek veterinary services to help keep your pooch at ease.
Symptoms of Warts in Dogs
A wart will appear as a fleshy outgrowth with a surface that is dry just as the skin. In case the lump appears sore or inflamed, it should be checked by a veterinarian as this could indicate another problem.
Warts also tend to not be uncomfortable or painful unless located in areas such as between the toes or on the eyes. As a result, the dog is not aware of them. They only become a problem if it, by bad luck, they get caught up in something, get chaffed by the collar or in case of trauma when grooming.
Where warts on dogs grow on the mouth or lips, they may appear as white colored bumps. They could also appear as some tiny mushrooms if they grow on the tongue.
Causes of Warts on Dogs
A compromised immune system is what mostly causes canine warts. It is the reason they are common in senior dogs as well as in puppies. As dog’s age, so does their immune system making them vulnerable to different conditions including warts.
Another group of pets with compromised immunity is those taking immunosuppressive drugs such as prednisone and long-term corticosteroid therapy. Basically, any drug leading to your dog’s immune system getting compromised leaves your dog more susceptible.
In puppies, warts are likely to occur due to their still juvenile immune system. In such cases, the puppies suffer congenital immunodeficiency which could see them suffer massive viral infection.
The body fails to recognize that an immune response is necessary and as result lesions that do not heal may occur. Once dogs develop warts as a puppy, they tend to gain future immunity against the virus. As a result, they are not likely to experience them once they grow up even when exposed to the virus.
There is no breed or sex predisposition when it comes to a dog getting warts. The main predisposing factors are the maturity and strength of the immune system.
Warts on Dogs Diagnosis
In most cases, a veterinarian can identify warts on dogs through observation. However, if they deem it right, a biopsy may be carried out too. This will help ascertain that the lump is indeed a wart and not a cancerous growth.
How to Treat Dog Warts
Usually, no treatment is necessary to get rid of warts in dogs. This is because the lumps are painless and pose no health risk to your pet. In addition, warts resolve themselves with time. There, however, are some situations in which treatment is necessary. These include:
- In cases where the warts are large, numerous or are in places where they result in other symptoms such as eating or drinking difficulties, irritation in the eyes or lameness.
- Where warts bleed and are exposed to infections.
- In case the wart fails to resolve itself over time.
- Where a dog has serious health conditions and in cases of immunosuppressive medication rendering them incapable of healing warts on their own.
In the above cases, various forms of treatment are available. These are discussed below.
Surgical Removal of Warts in Dogs
The procedure of removal of warts is a simple and short one. An incision is made and the wart is cut off. After the wart has been removed, follow the given instructions in cleaning and dressing the wound. Keep your pet from licking the area by using restraining devices such as a muzzle. Keep monitoring it for signs of infections or any complications upon whose appearance you should talk to your veterinarian.
In addition, there are other options for the removal of dog warts. These include cryosurgery which freezes warts off, laser ablation which makes use of laser light and electrosurgery which involves burning them off on the surface.
The procedures require your dog to be put under anesthesia. This could be general or local depending on the removal method being applied.
How to Prevent Dog Warts
The virus that causes warts on dogs is breed specific. As a result, they are not transmittable to humans. They, however, can be passed from one dog to another. Since the incubation period of the wart-causing virus is one to two months, it is possible that by the time symptoms erupt, other dogs within the household have been exposed.
There doesn’t seem like there is much that can be done to prevent the formation of warts on dogs. However, being aware of the surrounding environment can go a long way. Where you see a dog with visible warts, avoid them getting in contact with your dog.
Additionally, if your dog’s immunity is weak, avoid taking him to areas with high dog populations such as dog daycare, kennels or parks. Since the virus can survive for long only to be picked days later by a dog, through a break in the skin, keep your dog away from contaminated areas when they have rashes, wounds or bruises.
Canine Papilloma Virus: How Long is it Contagious
Once a dog contracts the papillomavirus, it (virus) can stay up to eight weeks of being inactive. During the duration of incubation, a dog can easily transmit warts on dogs causing the virus to any susceptible dogs. The canine papillomavirus can, therefore, be said to be contagious for up to eight weeks. The various means through which it can be transmitted include:
- Direct contact with a dog that has warts
- Contact with a dog carrying the virus even when they don’t have warts yet
- From areas infected with the papillomavirus such as food bowls.
While the canine papillomavirus is contagious among dogs, it is worth noting that the virus is not contagious to humans. there is, therefore, nothing to be worried about humans catching warts from their canine friends.
Caution: In case you see dog warts bleeding, changing in color, appear painful or adopt any other change in their description, it is time to see your veterinarian. The same should be done where warts on dogs do not resolve themselves with time.