I have a 10-year-old yellow Labrador who recently had several warts develop on her head and leg. The one on her face became infected and, consequently, was removed surgically. It looks like a few more are starting to show. The vet told me not to worry about them. I heard that a virus causes these types of warts. Is there anything I can do to prevent more of them from breaking out on her body? I felt disappointed with the vet's diagnosis and would appreciate your comments regarding this matter.
A.K., Colts Neck, NJ Jan 02, 2012
There are two types of warts usually seen in dogs. Young dogs often develop warts caused by canine papilloma virus, which is not transmissible to humans. Older dogs are prone to developing warts because of a compromised immune system; the skin-invading virus makes the cells in the skin proliferate. Some breeds, such as toy poodles, are especially prone. Older dogs can also develop wart-like growths that are not triggered by a skin virus, but may be related to other skin conditions such as greasy seborrhea or hormonal dysfunction, especially of the thyroid gland. If the attending veterinarian suspected possible skin cancer, a biopsy would have been taken. Large benign warts that become infected are best removed surgically. Smaller warts can be painted with cider vinegar three to four times a day or with over-the-counter wart removal ointment for humans. The dog, of course, should not be able to lick this medication or rub it and get it in the eyes. However, when folk remedies fail, periodic surgical removal is the only option.
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