Dog Warts (Oral/Cutaneous Papillomas)

Dog warts are small, usually painless skin growths that occur in the mouth and on the lips or elsewhere on the skin, usually on the face (e.g. on the eyelids, or even the eye surface), or between the toes. They are medically known as "Viral Papillomas" or "Cutaneous Papillomas", or if they occur in the mouth, "Oral Papillomas". Read on to find out more about the symptoms, causes, and treatment of canine warts.

Dog Warts

Canine warts usually occur in puppies and dogs younger than two years old.

Symptoms of Dog Warts

When they first form, the warts are usually small and pinkish in color. As they develop, they grow bigger in size, and have a grayish-white color and a rough surface. They take on a cauliflowerlike appearance. Some dogs may have 50 to 100 warts at one time.

Sometimes, oral papillomas can get infected with bacteria in the mouth, in which case the dog will develop symptoms such as excessive drooling (due to pain), bad breath, and appetite loss.

Causes of Dog Warts

The culprit of warts in dogs in a type of virus known as Papillomavirus (PV). Canine warts are transmitted by direct contact with an infected dog or with the virus in the dog's environment. Papillomavirus can only be transmitted from dogs to dogs, not to humans or other house pets.

Dogs that are infected usually have a weak or immature immune system; that is why most infected dogs are puppies and younger dogs whose immune systems are still immature.

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Conventional Treatment of Dog Warts

Canine warts are usually benign growths which disappear by themselves in six to twelve weeks. Oral papillomas usually go away faster than warts on or around the eyes. However, when oral papillomas become infected by bacteria in the mouth, antibiotics will usually be prescribed.

If the warts fail to disappear after 6-12 weeks, or if they are in the mouth making it difficult for the dog to eat, they can be removed either by surgery, electrocautery (using electric current to remove the wart tissue), or cryosurgery (freezing the wart tissue).

To prevent the spreading of the virus to other dogs, an infected dog should be kept isolated, and in particular, should not be in contact with those with immature or weakened immune systems, such as puppies.

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Home Remedies for Dog Warts

If your dog has viral papillomas, you may want to try the following simple home remedies to speed up recovery:

  • Castor Oil

    Castor oil is commonly used to cure warts. It works by softening the growths and reducing irritation. Apply a small amount of castor oil directly to the warts several times a day.
  • Vitamin E Oil

    Vitamin E oil is another handy home remedy for canine warts. Use a needle to puncture a vitamin E capsule, and squeeze the oil directly onto the warts 2 to 3 times a day, for 2 to 3 weeks.

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