What are Wart Virus?
While the warts are not-life-threatening in their own right, the danger with leaving wart virus untreated in your cat is that the growths can evolve into cancerous tumors over time.
Wart growth in cats, or papillomatosis, is a condition in which raised growths of tissue occur in various areas on your cat. These growths are typically benign, or non-cancerous, and can occur in any bodily location on your pet. The most common locations you would find papillomatosis growths would be around the eyes, mouth and nose, due to the increased moisture and potential for transference of viral cells to these areas.
Symptoms of Wart Virus in Cats
Wart virus, or papillomavirus, in cats typically presents with raised growths and a variety of other related symptoms. Here are some of the items to watch for if you suspect wart virus, or papillomatosis in your cat:
- Raised bumps or warts focused around lips, mouth, eyelids, eyes and ears
- Bumps may be white, dark or skin colored
- Warts may bleed or cause your cat irritation
- Warts may become infected or inflamed
- Poor grooming or hygiene due to pain caused by warts
- Reduced appetite from pain or discomfort from warts
Causes of Wart Virus in Cats
As “wart virus” is a phrase used to describe numerous sporadic growths in cats, there is not a single identified cause. There are several viruses that cause the formation of warts and several known causes of infection with papillomavirus and spontaneous growth of warts.
- Spread of Infection from Other Cats: Wart viruses can be spread from one affected pet to another. Direct contact from outdoor cats with a variety of wild and domesticated animals can contribute to cross species or interspecies contamination with the virus.
- Weakened Immune System: Some commonly occurring viruses can cause warts when your cat’s immune system becomes suppressed due to underlying sickness or old age.
- Precancerous and Cancerous Conditions: Some types of cancer can originally manifest as warts in cats which will initially appear as benign growths. Over time, these growths can multiply and spread, becoming cancerous and life-threatening lesions.
Diagnosis of Wart Virus in Cats
As with many conditions, it will be important to provide your veterinarian with documentation regarding your cat’s warts or growths. Information such as date of first appearance of the wart, rate of growth of the wart and any resulting inflammation, infection, bleeding or other related conditions will be vital to eliminate similar conditions.
Your veterinarian may recommend a biopsy of all or a portion of the area affected by the wart virus. This will not only eliminate or identify the potential for cancer in your pet, but may also eliminate the growth and prevent future spread, infection or related conditions. This can be especially helpful for lesions or warts that are interfering with the daily life or your cat, such as those around the lips or mouth.
Treatment of Wart Virus in Cats
There are several courses of treatment that your veterinarian may choose to take in order to cure your cat of papillomatosis.
There are various types of anti-inflammatory, antiviral or antifungal medications that your vet may prescribe. The exact type of medication used will depend on the results of the biopsy or other tests conducted during the initial vet visit and subsequent diagnostic procedures.
In the case of diagnosis of the wart virus as benign, your veterinarian may choose to freeze the warts in order to encourage the growth to reduce in size or fall off. Freezing the warts in sensitive areas on your cat will help alleviate symptoms such as loss of appetite, lethargy or general discomfort. Freezing may also be a viable alternative to surgical procedures which may cause significant damage to surrounding tissues.
In some cases, surgical removal of warts and surrounding tissues may provide the best course of treatment for your cat. Your vet may take this course of action in situations where the wart is suspected of being cancerous or will not respond well to freezing or medications. When removing via surgical methods, your vet may perform additional tests on the removed tissues to ensure clean margins, which would indicate that all infected or diseased tissue has been removed.
Recovery of Wart Virus in Cats
With property veterinary treatment, recovery of your cat after treatment from wart virus will be good. Warts that are eliminated via surgical methods or from medication will generally not return. On occasion, warts that have been frozen off have the potential for regrowth if the entirety of their structure was not impacted by the initial procedure.
Since most wart virus conditions are caused by a naturally occurring or otherwise contagious virus for which there is no cure, warts may recur in the same or different areas of your cat. Proper immune support for your cat will be important to reduce the possibility of recurrence. Overall, wart virus in cats is not a life threatening condition and, if treated properly, can still allow your cat to lead a long and healthy life.
Wart Virus Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
My 1 year old male cat has had a small round bump on his forehead directly in front of his left ear for a few months. It may have gotten slightly larger during this time period. It does not appear to cause any pain or discomfort when it is touched. It's colour is the same as his skin colour. I am wondering what it might be and if it requires veterinary attention?
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My cat is sneezing a lot and its like 10 sneezes at once when she sneezes . She also coughs like shes trying to get something out and she has a raised bump on her nose. I have no clue whats wrong with her.
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