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What are Wart Virus?

Canine Warts are fairly common in young socialized dogs and in multi-dog families. Similar to warts in humans, they are caused by a viral infection. They are highly contagious to other dogs, but the virus cannot be transmitted to humans or other pets. While not normally a risk to your dogs overall health, they can lead to other complications and discomfort. All dogs showing symptoms of Canine Warts should be evaluated by a veterinarian and quarantined from other susceptible dogs until the virus has run its course.

Canine Warts are skin and mucous membrane eruptions caused by a virus, known as papillomavirus. While visually alarming, they are generally harmless to your dog’s overall health. Puppies will be affected around the "t" of the face (mouth, eyes) and older dogs will even encounter it on the tongue. There have been instances where different forms of skin cancer have developed due to the progression of the papillomatosis, although this is rare.

Wart Virus Average Cost

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Average Cost

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Symptoms of Wart Virus in Dogs

  • Warts are most commonly seen in the mouth, nose or eyes, but skin warts can show up around the footpads, legs or groin area.
  • They start as a rough patch of pink-to-white skin, and as they develop they may become darker and lumpy, resembling cauliflower
  • Your dog may only have one wart, or they may occur as an eruption of multiple warts.
Types
  • The most common canine wart, Canine Papilloma Virus (CPV), is benign and cannot be transmitted to humans or other non-canine animals. This is the type seen most often in the mucous membranes of younger dogs.
  • Skin warts occur more often on the abdomen of older dogs. They are slower-growing than CPV and while most often benign can, in rare cases, develop into cancer.
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Causes of Wart Virus in Dogs

Canine Warts are caused by a viral infection only communicable with other dogs.

The virus is transmitted via direct dog-to-dog contact or sharing common items such as food and water bowls, toys, bedding, or grooming tools.

Since the virus has an incubation period of up to 2 months, once you see physical sings of infection, other dogs in your family or social group have already been exposed for some time.

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Diagnosis of Wart Virus in Dogs

You should isolate your dog and seek veterinary advice as soon as you suspect a canine wart infection. To assure a correct diagnosis, the veterinarian will do a thorough physical examination, and get a recent health and activity history. They will do an oral exam to be sure the warts are not impeding your dog’s ability to breathe or eat. If unsure of a certain benign diagnosis, your veterinarian may want to take a scraping or biopsy of the warts to examine under a microscope.

If there is clear evidence that the papillomatosis has visibly changed the underlying skin or cellular structure, the veterinarian may request the help of a specialist. Leveraging a pathologist, or the standard pathologist tests will help the doctor determine if dangerous viral antibodies are present within the lesions. In this event, the veterinarian will avoid popping warts, which they may choose to do to release the virus into the blood stream to expedite the bodies natural removal process.

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Treatment of Wart Virus in Dogs

If the warts are not affecting your dogs’ ability to eat, breathe or see, the most common treatment is no treatment at all. This is referred to as “benign neglect”, or just letting the virus run its course. Over time, the dogs’ immune system will strengthen and kill the virus on its own, and the warts will simply fall off. In some cases the vet will choose to squeeze the warts themselves, releasing the virus into the blood stream in an effort to speed up the immune response. It can take anywhere from 1 to 6 months for a full recovery, and during this time, the dog will have to be quarantined from any other susceptible dogs. The good news is, once a dog has healed from a CPV infection, they will carry immunity from the disease for the rest of their life and cannot be re-infected.

If the warts are so numerous or in a position where they are causing the dog quality-of-life issues, the veterinarian may choose to remove them surgically or by freezing them off. This will be done under with either a local or general anesthetic, depending on the location of the eruption. This is rarely necessary.

In some cases, the warts can get irritated and become infected. You veterinarian will prescribe an antibiotic to deal with the secondary infection, but this will not diminish the virus that causes the warts themselves.

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Recovery of Wart Virus in Dogs

During the time of “benign neglect,” you’ll want to watch your dog closely for any further signs of irritation or difficulty swallowing or breathing. If you notice this happening, you’ll want to schedule a follow-up visit with your veterinarian to discuss additional treatment options. Once the warts have completely disappeared, you should wait 2 more months before allowing your dog open contact with other dogs. After the incubation period of 2 months has passed with no new warts, your dog is assumed to be free of the virus, and now has immunity from contracting canine warts for the rest of their life.

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Wart Virus Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $500 - $2,000

Average Cost

$850

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Wart Virus Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Shepherd

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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9 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

White dots on lip and inside gum. Only two of them though

Dec. 30, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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9 Recommendations

Hello, these look like small pimples. If they start to get bigger it would be best for your vet to look at these.

Dec. 30, 2020

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American Bully

dog-age-icon

Six Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Itching

Ive noticed some wart like bumps around his tail area and he is constantly itching and rubbing. He is the only dog i have and he is not around other dogs. He is an inside dog only goes outside to use the bathroom or for walks or when im outside. What could this be?

Oct. 8, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It is difficult to say without being able to see the lumps, but bacterial infections and folliculitis can cause those signs, as can some parasites. The picture that you sent shows a lump that would surprise me if it were itchy, and I'm not sure that the two are related? If it does not seem to be getting better, it would be a good idea to have him seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine him and see what might be going on so that they can get treatment for him. I hope that all goes well for him!

Oct. 8, 2020

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Border Collie

dog-age-icon

6 months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Wart

My vet has diagnosed a small growth on my puppy's lip as a benign papilloma. From what I read, she should not be socializing with other dogs. (A) I am concerned that quarantining her at this young age will have negative, long term effects on her socialization. (B) How long has a dog typically been exposed before showing signs of a growth? Can she still socialize with those that she already knows and has been in contact with???

Aug. 5, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. We typically recommend keeping your dog away from other dogs for a week or two, which should not hamper her socialization too much. Is there are dogs that she has been in contact with, I would think that they would be okay to continue to get in contact with her, if they have already been exposed. I hope that all goes well for her.

Aug. 5, 2020

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Grizzy

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toy poodle

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8 Years

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Moderate severity

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4 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Warts On Body

my poodle has warts all over his body, some will have a hard long black core protruding off of it, is this normal? and this has been going on for a few years now, they are popping up every where on his body. He is fully grown toy poodle. I had a vet to look at him and she just said it was warts, and nothing else. I am concerened

Aug. 16, 2018

Grizzy's Owner

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4 Recommendations

It is important to distinguish whether they are true warts or a sebaceous adenoma; if these are popping up everywhere you should think about visiting your Veterinarian again or consulting with a Dermatologist to get a specific diagnosis and to determine if any action is required or not. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 17, 2018

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Charlie

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Havanese

dog-age-icon

12 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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3 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Won'T Stop Licking Wart

My 12 year old male Havanese has a papiloma (wart) as diagnosed by vet on top of his paw. It's been there for about two months and vet said not to do anything since he has heart disease (on Pimobenden) and I don't want to put him under anesthesia to remove. But he won't stop licking it now and it looks like it's getting bigger. I don't want him to live the rest of his days in a cone - can it be removed without anesthesia?

Aug. 13, 2018

Charlie's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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3 Recommendations

Depending on the size of the wart, it might be able to be removed or at least decreased in size without general anesthesia. It might also be infected, making it itchy and more complicated. If he isn't leaving it alone, it would be a good idea to have your veterinarian look at it and see if there is any treatment that might help, or if they might be able to do something about it with a local anesthetic.

Aug. 13, 2018

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Shiloh

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Flat-Coated Retriever

dog-age-icon

3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Warts

My dog had a cauliflower type wart on her ear flap. I made an appointment with my vet and by the time we saw her four days it had grown twice the size. She used a freezing agent to burn off the wart. It fell off within a week. Several months later she has two more. I’ll take her to the vet again this week. Problem she is in heat and we are hoping to breed her. Will the warts affect the puppies? The sire? Should the breeding be put off?

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Norman

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Great Dane

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2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Swelling
Lump

My Great Dane got a small wart on the outside of his ankle joint and it’s been there about a year. The past month he has had a squishy lump on the inside (directly across from the wart) that seems to give him no issues, but it swells the entire ankle & joint area at times. The lump has gotten tested and tried to drain, but it was just blood- minimal monocytes so we tried an inflammation & antibiotic for two weeks and still no luck. Could the wart cause the swelling and lump?

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Norman

dog-breed-icon

Great Dane

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Swelling
Licking
Lump
Licking At Foot

My Great Dane got a small wart on the outside of his ankle joint and it’s been there about a year. The past month he has had a squishy lump on the inside (directly across from the wart) that seems to give him no issues, but it swells the entire ankle & joint area at times. The lump has gotten tested and tried to drain, but it was just blood- minimal monocytes so we tried an inflammation & antibiotic for two weeks and still no luck. Could the wart cause the swelling and lump?

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Missy

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Jack Russell Terrier

dog-age-icon

10 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Cpv Warts All Over Body

My dog is covered in warts all over her body. She is a 10yr old long hair Jack Russel who was on Apoquel, for her scratching and runny eyes. I took her off them when I read many medical reports and I now use Piriton. Could this cause my dogs warts? She has had about 50 all over her body for over a year...any advice as all the vet says and does is give me a steroid cream and says it’s CPV?

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Winston

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English Springer Spaniel

dog-age-icon

4 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Bump

Hi! My Springer Spaniel has a wart like bump on his leg. It’s almost like a mushroom cap and is about the size of a dime. Isn’t bothering him at all. Think I still need to go to the vet?

Wart Virus Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $500 - $2,000

Average Cost

$850

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