Understanding Dog Warts
Dog warts are non-cancerous bumps or tumors on a dog’s skin. You might find them while petting or brushing your dog, or while examining his skin for lumps, bumps, sores and lacerations. Anytime you find something out of the ordinary on your dog’s skin, you should contact your vet, just in case. But most of the time, the bumps you find on your dog’s skin will be benign dog warts.
Symptoms of Warts in Dogs
Dogs warts are small bumps on a dog’s skin. They might have a cauliflower appearance. They could be the same color as your dog’s skin or whitish-yellow in hue. Dog warts usually occur in older dogs.
Dog warts are caused by a virus, called papillomavirus. One wart will often spread, causing multiple warts to appear on your dog’s skin. Dog warts can appear in clusters, and they may appear on any part of your dog’s body.
Warts don’t cause your dog any pain, but they may cause some minor irritation. Many dogs will chew, lick or bite at warts. If your dog bites his warts, they could bleed and even become infected. Bleeding or infected warts should be treated by a vet.
Diagnosing Dog Skin Warts
Most vets can diagnose dog skin warts by examining the dog. Your vet may perform a biopsy if the bumps look unusual. If your vet performs a biopsy, he’ll use a needle to remove some cells from the wart. A pathologist can examine the cells to make sure your dog has warts and not some type of cancer.
Treating Dog Skin Warts
Dog warts often don’t need any treatment at all. They can be left untreated if your dog doesn’t seem bothered or irritated by them. Sometimes the warts will even go away on their own.
If your dog is due to undergo anesthesia for another procedure, your vet might recommend removing the warts at the same time. This can keep the warts from irritating your dog an becoming a problem in the future. However, if your dog isn’t bothered by his warts, there’s no need to put him through wart removal surgery.
If the warts do seem to be bothering your dog, or if they seem swollen, irritated, infected or bleeding, they’ll need to be surgically removed. The same is true for warts that grow around the eyes, nose, ears, mouth and throat. Your dog will need to go under general anesthesia for wart removal surgery.
If your dog does develop skin warts, even if they don’t seem to be bothering him, keep an eye on them. If old warts begin to grow suddenly or new clusters of warts begin to appear rapidly, or if your dog’s warts change in appearance, it could be a sign of cancer. Benign warts may grow quickly and ulcerate if they become cancerous. Sudden changes in your dog’s skin warts symptoms should be reported to your vet.
Sometimes, skin cancer in dogs appears as black warts growing around the eyelids or lips. Should such warts appear, have your vet check and remove them right away.