Canine Viral Papillomas
Papillomas are skin growths that are commonly called warts. These growths are caused by an infection of the canine papilloma virus and can appear in a variety of places on your dog’s body especially the face. Sometimes, they will also start growing between the toes.
The virus that causes papillomas in dogs can be spread to your pet if he comes in contact with warts growing on another canine. Also, objects like bedding and food dishes can also harbor the virus, causing canines to become infected once they come into contact with them.
Adult dog’s immune systems are usually strong enough to handle the canine papilloma virus. Therefore, warts typically appear on dogs with a weakened immune system. Puppies are more easily affected also since their immune system has yet to develop fully. An infection with this virus doesn’t immediately cause the growth of warts. Instead, the virus will incubate for up to two months before anything appears.
The growth of dog viral papillomas itself usually isn’t major cause for concern. However, the growths can become lacerated leading to infection. If the warts appear in the mouth, then your dog may find it somewhat uncomfortable to eat. They can also lead to inflammation and pain. Dogs with oral warts will also have halitosis, or bad breath.
It isn’t necessary to treat viral papillomas in dogs. The immune system will get the job done as it strengthens. This process won’t happen overnight though. Warts can stay on your dog for quite a few months before finally going away. In some cases, they will stay for the rest of your dog’s life.
Oral warts that are causing serious problems when your dog tries to eat or drink may need to be removed surgically. A cryogenic solution can be applied to the warts in hopes of freezing them off. Another method involves simply using a scalpel to remove them. As mentioned, canine viral papillomas can become infected. If this happens, then your dog will need a course of antibiotics.
These skin growths are usually benign. However, there is a chance for them to become malignant. There are a few signs that indicate canine viral papillomas have become cancerous. The growths may change color or grow larger. If you notice any of these changes, then it’s best to have them examined by a veterinarian.