Small, circular skin tumors known commonly as warts are caused by the papilloma virus.
The virus has a 1-2 month incubation period and can be transmitted to other dogs through direct contact with a lesion. It CANNOT be transmitted to humans or other animals. It is very rare that the warts become cancerous.
These wart-like growths in dogs have a different shape than those in humans. Canine papillomas are gray in color and look somewhat like a piece of cauliflower. Warts in humans are round and smooth.
Papillomas usually occur in young dogs under the age of 2. They are found in and around the mouth, lips, gums, tongue and rarely at the sites of other mucous membranes. The immune systems of young dogs have not fully developed making them more susceptible to the virus. As the dog’s immune system matures, it develops antibodies and the warts can eventually disappear.
Papillomas as usually benign and often grow in clusters. They can become infected and may cause discomfort when eating.
It’s always a good idea to take your dog to your veterinarian and have the warts evaluated. Older dogs who develop wart-like growths on the body should be seen by your vet to rule out a more serious condition.
In any case, your dog should be seen by the vet for a diagnosis and antibiotic treatment or removal of the warts if necessary.