Warts on Dogs

Warts on dogs grow on the skin's surface, usually on the face near the eyes. They can also grow inside the mouth and nose or on your dog's reproductive organs. Warts are either benign (non-cancerous) and self resolving, or malignant (cancerous). Malignant warts present a danger to your dog's health and require medical treatment.

Causes and Symptoms of Dog Warts

Some dog warts are caused by the papilloma virus. The papilloma virus is a contagious virus that causes warts in dogs; it's very common. The virus will incubate in your dog's system for as long as two months before warts appear; usually, this type of dog wart disappears on its own. Other causes of dog warts include vaccination, medication, environmental pollutants and allergens.

Dog warts appear as small, cauliflower shaped growths on the surface of your dog's skin. They may be the same color as your dog's skin, or they may be a whitish or yellowish color. Warts may appear in clusters; one wart may seem to grow into several warts over time. While warts don't cause your dog any pain, he may lick, bite or scratch at them; torn and bleeding warts may become infected and require veterinary treatment.

Diagnosing Dog Warts

Your vet can diagnose dog warts easily with a simple visual examination. Your vet may use an aspirate needle to remove a small amount of tissue from the wart for a biopsy; this test will determine whether or not your dog's warts are cancerous. Cancerous warts require immediate veterinary intervention; usually, they can be successfully treated by surgical removal. Warts in dogs, like any skin growth, while usually harmless, could be a symptom of serious illness and should always be examined by a vet.

Treating Warts in Dogs

Often, dog warts don't require any treatment. Most dog warts go away on their own. If the warts seem to be bothering your dog, and especially if he licks, bites, scratches or chews the warts, then you may want to consider having them removed. If your dog is undergoing surgery for another reason, your vet may suggest removing the warts while your dog is under anesthesia for that procedure, simply for the sake of convenience, just in case the warts might bother your dog in the future.

Dog wart removal needs to be performed under general anesthesia.

If your dog's warts aren't removed, or if only some of the warts are removed, then keep a close eye on those warts that remain. If you notice any changes in shape, size or color of your dog's warts, see your vet, as changes in the wart are often an indication that the wart has become canine skin cancer.

While warts caused by the papilloma virus can't be cured, they will often go away on their own without any medical intervention. If you'd like to hasten this process, you can feed your dog a healthy diet and use nutritional supplements to boost his immune system.