Ask the Vet

Dog Warts Caused by Species-Specific Virus

Can dogs get warts from cattle? (DTN/Progressive Farmer file photo)


We have an 8-month-old Labrador puppy with what looks like warts around his mouth. We also just weaned a group of calves, and some of them had warts. I know a virus causes warts in cattle, but what about dogs? Did my puppy get warts from the cattle?


Yes, dogs can get warts. And they share many similar characteristics to the warts we sometimes see in cattle.

Young animals are most often affected when it comes to warts. The warts we see in dogs will have a similar appearance to the warts we see in cattle and even humans. They typically resolve with time and rarely cause a problem. But in dogs, they are caused by canine papilloma viruses, which are species specific. So, no, your dog did not catch them from your calves.

Dogs get these viruses from direct exposure to another infected dog, or from the environment. All wart viruses can survive for extended times in the environment.

In some cases, if the warts ulcerate, are painful, or cause other problems, they may need to be surgically removed. While I have never seen it, there are reports of some warts becoming malignant. If the lesions are causing issues for your pet or you are concerned, take the puppy to your veterinarian for a more complete diagnosis and appropriate treatment.


Editor's Note:

Please contact your veterinarian with questions pertaining to the health of your herd or other animals. Every operation is unique, and the information in this column does not pertain to all situations. This is not intended as medical advice but is purely for informational purposes.

Write Dr. Ken McMillan at Ask the Vet, 2204 Lakeshore Dr., Suite 415, Birmingham, AL 35209, or email