Yes, dogs can get warts. In most cases, warts are not a serious problem and may disappear after some time. Warts are viral papillomas of the skin. These are benign tumors. Benign refers to those tumors that are not able to move from their point of origin.
Warts have a stalk leading to rough growth. They can appear anywhere on the dog’s skin but most commonly they are found on the face, neck, and feet. Warts can appear in any dog but they are most commonly seen in young dogs and those having a weaker immune system. Some dog breeds are also more likely to have warts than others. These breeds include cocker spaniels, pugs, etc.
What are the causes of warts in dogs?
Warts or technically canine viral papillomatosis has a viral origin. Different types of viruses are involved in causing warts. Different types of viruses are responsible for causing warts in different parts of the body. The appearance of warts caused by a particular virus may differ from warts caused by a different type of virus.
Your dog can get warts when he comes in contact with an infected dog. A dog may show warts a couple of months after coming in contact with the infected dog. The viruses responsible for causing warts are quite resistant and may survive in environment for a long period.
What are symptoms of warts in dogs?
Symptoms of warts are quite obvious and can be easily seen in the form of small growths. Normally warts have a rough appearance but some may have dark, scaly appearance. A dog may have few to countless papillomas on its body. Warts present around the mouth can make feeding and drinking difficult for your dog. Warts present on the feet can result in enormous pain during walking and running. Affected dogs may be seen limping due to papillomas especially if they are infectious and traumatized.
How are warts diagnosed in dogs?
Warts can be diagnosed easily by your veterinarian through a physical examination. Your vet may recommend a biopsy of the tumor material to ascertain the type of growth. Biopsy means taking a small portion of tumor mass from a living dog for microscopic examination. The sample from the tumor is examined by a veterinary pathologist.
How are warts treated in dogs?
Warts don’t usually require treatment and disappear automatically when the dog develops immunity against the infecting virus. As a general rule, if the wart does not go away on its own in 3 months, it should be treated. Persistent warts can develop into other types of cancer.
Another scenario in which dogs need to be treated for warts is that if the growth has become infected and is bleeding. Similarly, warts present around the mouth and feet that are causing difficulty in eating and walking respectively should be treated immediately.
If the number of papillomas is limited, these can be removed through surgery or laser. If warts are present on a large area, medication is needed. Contact your veterinarian if your dog has warts. Your vet will decide the best line of treatment for your dog based on history, age, and immune status.