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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.

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Wart Virus Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$850

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 signs 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 the diagnosis is uncertain, your veterinarian may want to take a fine needle aspirate or biopsy of the wart(s) 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. Consulting a pathologist 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 body's 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 and/or medicated wash 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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Written by hannah hollinger

Veterinary reviewed by: Linda S.

Published: 01/15/2016, edited: 05/07/2021

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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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Rambo

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Pomeranian

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8 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Does Not Eat Properly

My 8 year dig has developed cauliflower like tissue in his lips and tongue... Can this lead to cancer? Or it is curable.. 2 months before he blood vomitted... but the vet told that it was because of gastric

July 27, 2018

Rambo's Owner

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0 Recommendations

This does sound like canine papillomavirus, however most of the time treatment isn’t necessary as the papillomas are self limiting and spontaneously resolve themselves; treatment with azithromycin has shown to resolve viral papillomas in one study. You shouldn’t allow Rambo around other dogs as this is contagious to other dogs and keep him quarantine for a few months after symptoms resolve. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.vin.com/veterinarypartner/default.aspx?pid=19239&catId;=102899&id;=4951355

July 28, 2018

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Kona

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Husky

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1 Year

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Wart
Papilloma Virus

My husky who is a year and a half old was recently diagnosed by my vet as having a papilloma virus wart on her muzzle. The first time I brought her he crushed the wart to release the virus into her blood stream and gave me a topical antibiotic to put on it to prevent further infection. However the wart grew back. Now the vet wants to surgically remove the wart. I’m nervous about the surgery as I’ve read that the wart can go away on its own? My vet has never steered me wrong before but for some reason this surgery is making me extremely uneasy... any advice would be welcome!

July 2, 2018

Kona's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Papillomavirus warts do generally resolve themselves with time, however there are various reasons for your Veterinarian to determine that surgery is a good idea including size, risk of traumatic injury, causing an issue with eating/drinking etc…, among many other reasons. Without examining Kona, I cannot determine whether in my opinion whether surgery, cryosurgery or wait and see approach. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 3, 2018

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Frodo

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Bernedoodle

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3 Days

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Licking
Wart
Bumps

Hi! My dog Frodo is a 3-year old Bernedoodle. I noticed he was licking his paw a lot for the past several days so I examined it and saw a weird beige/whitish lump on the inside of the paw. Doing the research it looks like a wart, but not sure. I want to do something to get rid of it for him but don't know what. Can you advise?

May 30, 2018

Frodo's Owner

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Without examining Frodo’s paw, I cannot tell if that is a wart, skin tag or something else; it would be best to have your Veterinarian have a look to identify the cause and to offer treatment if necessary. In the meantime try to prevent further licking by placing a cone on Frodo and bathe the paw with a dilute antiseptic. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 31, 2018

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Kali

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American Staffordshire Terrier Mix

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28 Months

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Skin Lump
Growth

Last Friday I noticed a small growth on my 2.5 yr dog's bottom lip fold. I am worried it could be a papilloma bc it's a unique shape and seems to be growth quickly. It started out as flesh colored but now has turned a dark red/black. Close up it lose cauliflower like but it's more cyclindrical/come like in its growth. It seems to be growing out and is attached at the base. Due to its placement, it also seems like it might be tearing off? I have photos too. Doesn't seem to really be bothering her.

May 12, 2018

Kali's Owner

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You should have the suspected papilloma examined by your Veterinarian to determine whether or not it is a viral papilloma. Generally (if it is a viral papilloma) these are self limiting with many of them resolving spontaneously themselves; medical or surgical intervention may be required if they grow too large or cause an issue whilst eating. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 12, 2018

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Paytyn

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Boxer

dog-age-icon

2 Years

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

Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Red/Pink Flower Head Looking

Hello, I recently found a spot on my dogs paw and it has erupted into this flower looking growth. It is between her toe. Do you have any idea what it may be? She is two and a half years old. Debating on whether I should get it removed I wanted to add a photo but don’t think that I can.

May 4, 2018

Paytyn's Owner

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1 Recommendations

The image below shows a viral papilloma on a dog’s skin, they are transmissible to other dogs and you should visit your Veterinarian as soon as possible for an examination and to determine whether it should be removed or to wait it out. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM https://drnelsonsveterinaryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/IMG_1779.jpg

May 5, 2018

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Red

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Lab mix

dog-age-icon

8 Years

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Critical severity

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Warts On Gums And Lips, Large Mass

We have a mixed breed dog who is about 8 years old. She got so sick after returning from a visit with my daughter and her three dogs, we took her to the vet. She has hemophilia and many other issues and he thought she either had tick fever or rat poisoning. We were given antibiotics for the (possible) tick fever and Vitamin K shot and tablets for 50 days. She has had a terrible odor in her mouth and gum irritation prior to going to see the vet so I told him she may have a bad tooth. That was three days ago and she has developed a severe mass of warts all over the inside if her lips and mouth and what appears to be a very large (now) growth in her throat. We are small town and the vet did not acknowledge the mouth issue, probably because of the severity of her other issues. I dont k,ow what to do for her, she is extremely weak and lethargic and I was wondering if the medication we have her on and the other issues would be causing the weakness rather than what I believe is the warts? It may sound terrible that we dint have her at the vet right now, but the last visit just about wiped us out and I am hoping that the terrible issue with the warts will stop accelerating on its own as I have read. Is there a possibility that the medications are irritating the situation? Thank you for any advice you might have.

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Coal

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Black Lab/Whippet mix

dog-age-icon

2 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Warts On Lip

I just noticed little whitish pink bumps on my dog’s bottom lip. I know it’s suggested to quarantine my dog but we have 3 other dogs so that’s almost impossible to do. I don’t know what to do. Help :(

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Abigail

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Central Asian Shepherd

dog-age-icon

3 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Papilmola

My dog had one wart in her mouth. The vet had taken it off and now after about 2 weeks her whole left inside of her mouth has been covered in them. He gave me antibiotics but it seems to mot be helping. They seem to have gotten worse. Ant other advise or medicine I can use to help her break these up.

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Leroy

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Jack Russell

dog-age-icon

2 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

Lump On Upper Chest

2 year old jack Russell/yorkie mix developed small pink growth on upper chest. Started out small and slightly raises when first noticed. Now about the size of a small pencil eraser. Looks now like long brown strands are replacing the pink surface and the bigger it gets the more it looks like it’s going to fall off and getting more disconnected from the underlying skin. Been to the vet twice who just said it looks like could be a wart but not sure

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Rocky

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Mixed

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

Wart On Ear

Rocky had a big wart on his ear that was removed surgically a month and half ago. Today I saw the wart again, in the exact same place. Now it’s small but mighty grow like last time. He was poisoned a week ago so his immune system is not good for sure. But I don’t know if the new wart appeared before or after the poisoning since I just saw it today. And the wart is black, as it was the first time! Is that normal? I thought warts do not come back? Should i be worried? Thank you

Wart Virus Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$850

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