Dog warts (cutaneous papillomas) usually grow on the lips and mouths of younger dogs, but they can also be found on older dogs whose immune systems are impaired. This page looks at the common causes and some simple natural remedies that are effective for treating canine warts.
Warts, also known as "cutaneous papillomas", can be found quite often in puppies, although older dogs also get them.
The warts usually are found on the dog's face, along the lips, inside of the mouth, and occasionally even on the eyelids, the surface of the eye, or between the toes.
Initially, canine warts are usually small in size and the color is generally pale and pinkish. Over 4-6 weeks, however, they grow in size, become rough and grayish-white, and have the appearance of a cauliflower. Sometimes we can also find warts that are deeply-pigmented.
There is usually more than one wart in an affected dog. It's hard to imagine, but sometimes you may find as many as 50-100 warts on a dog!
If a large number of warts are developed in the mouth, the dog may show signs of appetite loss, excessive drooling, and may have difficulty eating.
Most dog warts are caused the virus called Papillomavirus (PV). The infection is transmitted through direct contact with the virus on an infected dog or in the dog's environment. It may take months after exposure to the virus for a dog to develop warts.
PV can only be spread among dogs, but not from dogs to humans.
Dogs that are easily infected by the virus usually have an immature or compromised immune system, e.g. puppies, older dogs, or dogs with other health problems.
Canine warts caused by PV are, most of the time, benign (non cancerous) and will generally go away by themselves in several weeks or months (around 6 to 12 weeks).
In very rare occasions, however, the warts may turn into a malignant growth (e.g. squamous cell carcinoma).
Warts may also be the result of a dog's reaction to vaccinations.
Many holistic veterinarians believe that a lot of dog health problems are the result of over-vaccination.
They have observed and documented various long-term effects of over-vaccination, most of which include the skin, such as skin eruptions like warts and similar growths, and allergic skin irritations (such as itching).
This video contains excellent information on canine warts:
Since the warts will generally disappear by themselves over a period of time (about 6 to 12 weeks), treatment is not necessary most of the time.
However, if the warts are causing eating difficulty, they can be removed either surgically or by cryosurgery (freezing the tissue).
Dogs with warts should be kept separate from other dogs, especially those that are prone to develop warts, such as puppies.
Also, dogs with warts in their mouths should not share drinking bowls with other dogs.
Warts usually are harmless and go away by themselves in a couple of months. However, we should watch the warts carefully just the same. Seek veterinary treatment if:
A sudden change either in size, coloration or appearance may mean that the wart has turned cancerous, although a change in the wart may also be due to other causes, such as an infection.
Some simple home remedies can be used to treat canine warts:
Castor oil can be applied directly to the warts. It softens the lesions and reduces irritation (such as itchiness) caused by the lesions.
You can also puncture a capsule of vitamin E and apply it directly to the dog warts. Regular application (for at least 2 to 3 weeks) can reduce the wart size significantly.
The homeopathic remedy Thuja is a very effective remedy for vaccinosis. This remedy is especially effective for skin problems such as warts, cysts, and other skin lumps.