Puppy warts rarely become a problem

The rise of doggy daycare has brought with it an increase in cases of warts in puppies. Puppy warts are caused by the canine papilloma virus, which is highly contagious. In doggie daycares, viruses can spread like wildfire as dogs and puppies playfully mouth each other and share toys and water bowls.

Warts usually appear in the mouth and can be numerous. They can appear on the tongue, lips, roof of the mouth, and the inside of the cheeks. They’re ugly, sure, but that’s only a problem when they become infected and cause pain.

Diagnosing warts in puppies

Puppy warts most commonly occur in dogs between 6 months and 2 years old because their immune systems are immature. These warts have a classic appearance, ranging from light pink to soft gray in color with a cauliflower-shaped surface, making them easy to identify. As the dog develops an immune response to the virus, the warts will subside and disappear. Warts may take several weeks to several months to disappear.

If you have a puppy that goes to doggie day care and develops these typical lesions, your veterinarian may diagnose puppy warts based solely on the history and physical examination. If you have an older dog that doesn’t attend doggie day care, your veterinarian may recommend a biopsy to rule out worse conditions.

Puppy wart treatment

Fortunately, Puppy Papilloma Virus is benign (harmless) and usually does not require treatment other than a tincture unless the warts are infected, painful, or prevent eating. Antibiotics are used to treat infections. If necessary, warts can be surgically removed or frozen.

The good news is that dogs are less likely to get puppy warts again due to their immune response. The bad news is that because of the long incubation period of this virus, your puppy must stay home from doggy day care while he or she has puppy warts, and must remain home for two months after they are gone.