Symptoms of Papilloma in Dogs

A canine papilloma is a wart-like growth. The warts are actually tumors caused by a virus. Unlike human warts that tend to be round and smooth, dog papillomas resemble the tops of cauliflower. The growths are most common in puppies and younger dogs. You'll see them around your pet's lips and possibly on the tongue. Some papillomas occur around the eyes or between the toes, but these locations are less common.

While the warts may seem ugly and disturbing, there is no need to worry. The majority of these growths are harmless and will disappear on their own. The only potential issue occurs when the warts in and around the mouth cause discomfort.

Dangers of Canine Papilloma

Generally, there is no health risk with the small growths. Leave them alone and they will likely go away. In the majority of young dogs, the growths disappear within six months.

If the warts are located in such a way that your dog avoids eating or drinking, contact your vet. There are prescription medications that work in some dogs. Some vets prefer to surgically remove or freeze the warts to ensure the dog doesn't suffer from lack of nutrition or dehydration.

The biggest risk to your dog's health involves infection. If bacteria from the mouth gets into the growth, it can become infected. An infected growth may swell and become extremely painful. Your dog may need antibiotics to kill the infection.

Symptoms of Canine Papilloma

Typically, pet owners have no issue identifying papilloma in their dogs. The growths are obvious, usually no larger than a pencil eraser, and are white or light pink in color. The cauliflower-like surface really makes them stand out. You'll see them around the eyes, on the tongue or on the lip area of the mouth. Dogs with large warts may have difficulty eating, especially if the warts are sore from infection. Some dogs will drool excessively because of the location of the growths.

Bad breath is common in dogs with these viral growths. If routine teeth cleaning isn't keeping the bad breath at bay and there is no visible growth outside the mouth, look inside at the tongue for small cauliflower-like growths. If the growths open up, you might see blood in your pet's saliva. An open wart is more likely to become infected. It's important to keep a close eye on the papilloma at this point, so that you can seek veterinary care for an infected growth if necessary.

Treatment for Canine Papilloma

It's rare that a dog will need treatment for the growths. In cases where the number of warts is huge, treatment might be recommended. Some veterinarians recommend Interferon because it helps stimulate the immune system in some mammals. As long as the dosage is low, Interferon has no dangerous side effects. Studies are ongoing into the effectiveness of the antibiotic Azithromycin. Initial studies using Azithromycin do look promising, so many veterinarians use the antibiotic to spare their clients the higher cost of surgery.