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Q&A: What Is This White Bump Growing in My Dog's Mouth?

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Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

What Is Growing on My Dog's Inner Lip?

"I recently noticed a large growth on my 2-year-old rescue dog's lip. It is white, soft to touch and does not seem to bother him. I attached two photos for reference. Thank you so much." —Anna

Oral Papilloma Virus in Dogs (a.k.a. Mouth Warts)

Thank you for including those pictures. From the photographs, it looks like a small papilloma, which is a contagious wart that can affect young dogs. Papillomas are contagious, but just among other dogs. He may have picked the virus up at the dog park or even at the shelter before you brought him home.

Usually, we wait about three months and see if the growth just goes away. If it does not, it can be removed with surgery or freezing. (If the growth irritates your dog, starts bleeding, or he has trouble eating, it would need to be taken off sooner, of course.) Here is an article on an herbal remedy to remove warts that may be effective in some cases.

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Mouth Warts or Something More Serious?

Although this looks like a papilloma, growths can never be diagnosed with a photo alone. Take your dog in for a physical. Your regular vet may decide it looks like a cancerous growth and decide to aspirate the lump (take out a few cells to examine under the microscope) based on the way it is growing.

If you want to see how this can progress you can do an image search for "papilloma mouth dog". They will all look a lot worse, of course, since most sites will show how bad things will get (here's one example from PawlicyAdvisor).

If it does get worse, have it removed.

This article is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from your veterinarian. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 Dr Mark

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