When ever dogs play with each other (dog parks, day care, play dates, etc.) there is always the risk of transmission of disease. Just like kids playing at school, they can pass things like colds and flu. With dogs, we concern ourselves with other things… like puppy warts.
One of the less serious concerns is the Canine Papilloma Virus – a viral wart that can be passed from one dog to another with normal play…. also known as Puppy Warts
Viral papillomas are round but often have a rough, almost jagged surface like cauliflower. They usually occur on the lips and muzzle of a young dog (usually less than 2 years of age). Less commonly, warts can occur on the eyelids and even the surface of the eye or between the toes.
HOW IS THIS VIRUS TRANSMITTED?
The virus is transmitted via direct contact with the warts on an infected dog or with the virus in the pet’s environment. The incubation period is 2-3 months. This virus can only be spread among dogs. It is not contagious to other pets or to humans. To become infected, the dog generally needs an immature immune system. This is why the infection is primarily one of young dogs and puppies.
ARE PUPPY WARTS DANGEROUS?
Not really. They should go away on their own as the dog’s immune system matures and generates a response against the wart. There have only ever been two cases published where warts progressed to malignancy. Typically, it takes 1-5 months for warts to go away with oral growths tending to disappear sooner than those around the eyes.
PUPPY WART TREATMENT
In most cases, treatment is unnecessary; one simply allows the warts to go away on their own. The warts can also be surgically removed or frozen off cryogenically by a vet. Sometimes, crushing the growths seems to stimulate the host’s immune system to assist in the tumor regression process. Some veterinarians have also found success using the antibiotic Azithromycin effective.
Boosting your dogs’ immune system is also the best chance of the warts going away. Antioxidant supplements and added Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are a good addition to your dogs diet. Some pet parents have had success applying Vitamin E directly to the wart to help speed the healing process.
HOW DOES CLUB WHISKER BONES HANDLE INFECTED PUPS?
Since the wart is considered contagious to other dogs, if we find something we suspect might be canine papilloma virus, the dog will be removed from the play group and sent home. A veterinarian needs to determine if it is indeed CPV. If a dog is diagnosed with CPV we cannot have the dog participate in day care or boarding. The dog needs to be lesion free for 7-10 days in order to return to day care.