Most canine warts eventually go away on their own, but you can have your vet remove them. And with a dog as handsome as yours, you'll want to do so if the wart is obvious. Also, remove a wart that interferes with movement. A few simple home remedies might work, but consult your vet before using them on your dog.
Canine Papilloma Virus
Papilloma viruses cause canine warts. Dogs pick up papilloma viruses from contact with affected dogs or with infected bedding, bowls, toys and similar items. A wart might not appear until several months after exposure, so it's hard, if not impossible, to pin down the source. While most warts are harmless, on rare occasions these growth can become malignant, specifically developing into squamous cell carcinomas. That's why it's important to have your vet examine your dog's warts.
Types of Warts
Three types of warts appear in canines. Young dogs most often exhibit mucous membrane papillomatosis, whose warts show up in clusters, affecting the mouth and lips but sometimes developing on the eyelid and internally in the animal's esophagus. They're larger than other common dog warts. A dog with a mouth full of warts can't swallow or chew properly.
Skin warts look just like mucous membrane papillomatosis but usually occur in older dogs and are generally single rather than multiple. They're also known, appropriately, as old dog warts.
Young dogs might also develop skin inverted papillomas on the abdomen.
Mouth Wart Removal
For mouth warts, your vet may biopsy a specimen to make sure the growths aren't cancerous. Mouth warts eventually disappear, but they can linger for up to six months. That's too long if the warts affect your dog's ability to eat. Surgical removal will temporarily keep your dog from eating, too, but not for as long. Mouth warts sometimes become infected with bacteria, in which case your vet might prescribe antibiotics.
Skin Wart Removal
Your vet will check warts to make sure they're not malignant. If you want your dog's skin warts removed, your vet can do so either via surgery or by freezing them off through cryotherapy. If your vet offers laser therapy, she may remove the warts via that method. Wait until the wart is fully grown before removal, because removing a wart in its initial stages can result in it growing back.
Avoid using over-the-counter remedies designed to remove human warts on dogs. It's likely your dog will lick off the wart remover. But, since warts in young dogs often develop because of an immature immune system, giving puppies an immune support supplement might hasten their disappearance.
You can try the duct tape removal method, as long as the wart is in an area your dog can't reach with his mouth. Just cover the wart with a little duct tape, approximately a quarter-inch larger than the wart. Remove and replace the tape every six days, debriding it gently with a pumice stone or emery board. Disinfect the board or stone after each use. Replace the duct tape the following day and start the cycle again. It can take weeks for the wart to disappear, so it's possible the duct tape had little to do with it.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
- Pet MD: Wart Virus in Dogs
- Merck Manual Pet Health Edition: Tumors of the Skin in Dogs
- Purdue University Veterinary Teaching Hospital: Canine Papilloma Virus
- Paw and Claws Animal Hospital: Young and Old Dog Warts
- Indiana University Health Center: Warts
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Wart Treatment With Duct Tape