Dogs are very social beings. They greet one another with kisses, tussel and play. They are happy (usually) to share toys and water bowls. This is a lovely way to go through life but it can let certain diseases spread quickly through a group. Canine Papilloma Virus (warts) is one such disease.
The virus spreads easily with direct contact and can live in the environment for a short period. The incubation is one to two months. A dog with warts is extremely contagious.
What to look for:
Warts are usually found on the lips and in the mouth but can grow around the eyes, on the foot pads and really anywhere on the skin. They appear as greyish, non painful, non itchy, growths that often look like they have fronds growning off them, a bit like a sea anemone. They can be from 0.25-1 cm in size and don’t tend to bleed.
A few warts on the lips or in the mouth don’t seem to bother the dogs much. Sometimes, usually as a result of some sort of immunosuppression, a dog can grow hundreds of warts that can fill the mouth and the back of the throat. The dog is unable to eat and in horribly extreme cases cannot breath and has to be euthanized.
Any new lump or growth on your dog should be examined by a veterinarian. Please don’t try to treat canine warts with human wart preparations. The warts will not respond to the treatment, and the human preparations may be toxic to your dog.
Warts may regress and go away on their own in about a month or two, but while they are present the dog is highly contagious and should be kept away from other dogs. They can’t use communal water bowls or share their toys during this time either.
If the warts don’t regress they can be removed by a veterinarian or sometimes medications can be used so the dog can get back to their social life.
While a dog has Canine Papilloma Virus, your pet should be kept strictly away from other dogs. They shouldn’t go to any training, day care, schools, dog-walkers, or dog areas in parks. The disease is extremely contagious, and your dog’s friends won’t thank you for sharing CPV.