Wart-like growths around your dog's eyes or mouth are rarely a cause for concern. Although these warts are unattractive and may bother your pet, they most often are benign growths that cause no harm. Warts are either caused by infection with canine papillomavirus or the growths are benign tumors called sebaceous epitheliomas. The type of wart and the age of the dog determine the course of treatment.
Removing Papillomavirus Warts
See your vet to determine the cause of the wart-like growth. In puppies and young dogs, warts are often caused by infection with canine papillomavirus. These rough-surfaced, round warts typically appear around the mouth or eyes.
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Ask for a biopsy. Papillomavirus in young dogs with developing immune systems is generally not a concern. In older dogs, however, papillomavirus may be a sign of another condition and a biopsy will determine whether the growth is cancerous.
Watch and wait. In almost all cases, papillomavirus requires no treatment. As puppies mature and their immune systems strengthen, they will fight the viral infection on their own and the warts will recede. This is a slow process, however, and may take 1 to 5 months for warts around the mouth to recede; it could be longer for warts near the eyes to recede.
Boost your dog's immune system. Help your dog fight off the virus with dietary supplements to strengthen his immunity. Beneficial vitamins and minerals include vitamin C to improve resistance to infection, zinc to promote healing and omega fatty acids to increase energy production. Other helpful supplements include vitamin B complex, folic acid, magnesium and Echinacea. Consult with your vet before feeding your dog any dietary supplements.
Removing Sebaceous Epitheliomas
Consult your vet. Sebaceous epitheliomas are pink or darker colored wart-like growths on the eyelids and generally occur in older dogs. They are benign, but they may be cancerous in a small percentage of cases.
Watch for growth or changes in the wart. In almost all cases, sebaceous epitheliomas require no treatment. They will not recede like papillomavirus warts, but they generally cause no pain or discomfort. Because they typically grow on the dog's eyelid, the growth may irritate the dog's cornea and could lead to conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the cornea that requires antibiotic treatment. Any change in the size or color of the wart, however, is a sign that it may be cancerous and should be checked by your vet.
Discuss surgical removal with your vet, particularly if your dog continuously scratches at the wart and causes it to bleed. Anesthesia is required for the surgery. Because sebaceous epitheliomas occur in elderly dogs, the risks of surgery may outweigh the benefits.
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.