Ask the Vet

Dog Warts or Cattle Warts?

(Michael D. Faw)

READER: 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?

DR. McMILLAN: 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 seen 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 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.

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-- Please contact your veterinarian with questions pertaining to the health of your herd. 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 vet@progressivefarmer.com

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