Dog Warts: Symptoms, Treatments, and Home Remedies
It all happens one day upon brushing your dog's teeth. You look into your dog's mouth only to notice an odd looking growth right on your dog's gums. The growth has almost the resemblance of a cauliflower, or perhaps more like a sea anemone you saw once on one of those ocean themed documentaries. As odd as the growth appears, you are relieved to notice it does not appear to be painful, however, still concerned you decide to have your veterinarian take a look.
Once at the animal clinic your veterinarian takes a look and calls the growth a ''papilloma'' the canine equivalent of a human's wart. The papilloma is caused by the papillomavirus, a virus similar to the one that causes human warts, however the dog version does not cross species lines, so dogs may not transmit papillomas to their owners.
Symptoms of Papillomatosis in Dogs
Papillomas usually appear on young dogs and have a preference for certain body parts such as the lips,tongue, mouth, eye lids and between the toes. While the virus as mentioned does not affect humans, it is capable of transmitting mainly between dogs. The dogs most prone to the virus are those with an underdeveloped immune system, therefore explaining why it affects mainly puppies and young dogs.
The incubation period between exposure to a dog affected by papilloma virus and the time the dog is infected is between 1-2 months. It is always recommended to have a dog with papillomas to be seen by a veterinarian. Sometimes the growths may become infected requiring antibiotics and there have been instances, even though rare, of papillomas turning malignant.
There is also another variety of papilloma that affects senior dogs which is known as ''cutaneous pappilloma''. In this case, the warts are more likely to appear in various locations on the body on the contrary to the from affecting young dogs affected the oral cavity.
Treatment of Papillomatosis in Dogs
Most cases of papilloma go away on their own as the puppy's or young dog's immune system grows stronger and fights against the virus. Puppies usually are able to fight off the virus within 2-3 months. In some cases, when the immune system appears not to ''see'' these growths, the vet may crush a few papillomas to encourage the immune system to fight them off.
The application of Vitamin E obtained by puncturing a gel capsule and applying its contents directly on the dog's skin warts for 2 - 3 weeks can reduce their size significantly.
Castor oil may also be applied to skin warts to soften them and relieve irritation. Thuja has been receiving pretty decent reviews in treating warts in dogs . You can read more about it here: Thuja for dog warts.
However, there are also severe cases where dogs may be affected by multiple papillomas to an extent of creating problems for the dog to eat. In such cases, the growths may need to be surgically removed or frozen off. The antiviral medication Interferon has shown to be effective in fighting warts. There are new studies suggesting that the human drug Azithromycin may be effective.
While most papillomas go away on their own, it is recommended to have them evaluated by a vet just to be safe.
Disclaimer: the above article is for educational purposes only and should NOT be used as a diagnostic tool nor as a substitute for professional veterinary advice.