Canine Papilloma Virus

Canine Papilloma Virus

The Papilloma Virus can effect many different species. It’s usually found in mammals but examples have also been seen in birds, snakes & fish. Each type of papilloma virus is confined to an individual type of species. Therefore whilst the papilloma virus can be transferred between dogs, it cannot be transferred to humans and vice-versa.

Canine Papilloma Virus – What Is It?

Canine papilloma virus will show itself as warts on your dog. This viral infection is highly contagious between dogs. It is usually transferred by direct contact between dogs. It can also pass via sharing of food and water bowls, toys etc. We have no idea how Archie contracted it since he’s the only dog in the home and is quite fussy about which dogs he interacts with. Canine papilloma virus is found around the mouth or elsewhere on the skin. Apparently oral papilloma virus in the most common type in dogs. In our case it was a growth on Archie’s paw that caused us concern. Canine papilloma virus is usually found in puppies or dogs with a compromised or low immune system. We don’t feel this describes Archie. We believe the virus was able to enter his body via a cut to his paw. Being a herding obsessed Border Collie, he will rapidly change direction, sometimes on gravel, which can take some skin off his front paws.

Canine Papilloma Virus – Diagnosis

When you discover a growth on your dog it’s natural to fear that it could be cancerous. Archie was actually running fine and it was only because he was licking his paw one evening that we discovered the growth. We called our 24 hour vet immediately and were offered an appointment that same evening, just 30 minutes later. Later that week Achie had an operation to have the growth removed. Trying to get a Border Collie to rest post operation is no easy task. About a week later the results came back that the growth was not cancerous. The diagnoses was canine papilloma virus. Naturally that led us to do some online research about it which has in turn led me to write this article.

Papilloma Virus in Dogs
Archie following his operation

Canine Papilloma Virus – Treatment

Normally the advice is not to treat canine papilloma virus. Sometimes if the wart is in the eyes or mouth, removal might be advised if it impacts on how your dog is eating, breathing or seeing. Generally though a vet would recommend that you let the virus take its course. Once a dog gets canine papilloma virus they will have better immunity against it and are unlikely to get it again. In Archie’s case I’m guessing that the growth was not immediately obvious as canine papilloma virus which is why removal was recommended. Now we know about this virus, what it looks like and the areas of the body it tends to effect. With this new knowledge I may have decided to let it run its course. That’s easy to say of course and if the vet is not sure it’s only natural to want it removed.

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  1. Hey Gary, nice article. Our German Shepard Gracie was just diagnosed with this, looks like some kind of wart between her toes. You don’t happen to have a photo of it you could share.
    Gracie is just one year old and hard to keep down. How was it bandage up and was it a chore to keep it on.

    1. Hi Fran & Sherry,

      Unfortunately we did not photograph it at the time. It looked like another claw though, dark in colour and hard to the touch. Our dog hates wearing anything on his paw. After the operation to remove it first time we didn’t even make him wear a head collar, instead preferring to watch him closely. The 2nd time it happened we just added things to his diet to boost his immune system and it vanished within days. The virus did not really stop him enjoying his walks but he would lick it constantly once home if you did not monitor him closely.


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