Dog Warts

Warts and all.”

It’s an interesting saying, and, in case you’re not familiar with it, means “I love you for better or worse; I love you for your good traits and your not-so-good traits.”

Warts are interesting, in that they are caused by a virus, the canine papilloma virus. Likewise, human warts are caused by, you guessed it, the human papilloma virus.

Little Gizmo came in to our hospital today for a routine well-patient visit but had a small bump on his lower lip. Martha, his owner, was concerned until I told her that it was a wart and would cause no problems.

Still, I had to warn her to be prepared that he would be getting more because, at 7 ½ years of age his immune system was not quite as strong as it was at two or three, and that the immune system would let some of these little papilloma viruses get by. When he rubs his lower lip against another part of his body he will “plant” more papilloma viruses in new locations where they will thrive and eventually produce more warts.

It’s a natural part of a dog’s life. Warts are rarely a problem in younger dogs except when they occur in the mouth, where they can even turn cancerous and be fatal. Mostly we see warts in older dogs and those individuals who survive to fifteen-plus years will often be covered with them.

Unless they bleed or become so large that they outgrow their blood supply they are not a medical problem.

See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.


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