Some of the most common types of dog warts can be those caused by the CPV-1 strain. These growths tend to have a distinctive, cauliflower-like appearance, with a rough, pebbly surface texture. They’re typically pink or gray in color and are usually longer — or more protrusive — than they are wide.
Dog warts caused by CPV-1 typically occur in clusters. They’re also known as canine oral papillomas, as they tend to be warts on a dog’s mouth — developing in moist mucous membranes like the gums, tongue, palate, throat, and lips. However, they can also be common around the nose, eyelids, and anywhere on a dog’s face. These types of dog warts are benign and generally painless.2
According to Dr. Elfenbein, there are exceptions to typical dog warts. These less common dog warts are caused by CPV-2. They usually aren’t found in clusters, don’t look like cauliflower, and tend to develop on a dog’s belly or feet. Though typically benign, these warts can become malignant (cancerous).
Two types of dog warts caused by CPV-2 are:
- Canine digital papillomas: These warts are often painful and tend to grow on a dog’s paw pad or between the toes.
- Canine cutaneous inverted papillomas: Also known as endophytic warts, these warts can occur on the belly or between the toes. They tend to be flat and slightly raised or cuplike, with a hard central core.2
If you notice a wart on your dog’s paw or mouth and decide to visit the veterinarian, Dr. Hammond explains what you can expect. “We can usually tell if it's a wart based on its appearance, its location, and the pet’s age,” she says. “So if I see one of those very distinct, cauliflower-like growths on the lip of a puppy who goes to the dog park a lot, I'm going to say, ‘Oh, this is most likely just a wart. Let's not worry about it.’”
However, if the growth doesn’t behave like a typical dog wart, your veterinarian may decide to take a sample to examine under a microscope. They may also remove the growth entirely and send it to a pathologist for further testing and diagnosis. If you notice that a wart has been persisting for 3 months or more, it's time to consult your veterinarian for guidance.
However, that doesn’t always mean a trip to the clinic. With a MetLife Pet Insurance policy, you may have access to a 24/7 veterinary chat in our app — so you can ask questions and seek medical advice about your dog’s warts.
In many cases, warts on dogs don’t require treatment and can resolve naturally. However, there are certain situations where a veterinarian may recommend wart removal.
For example, “If the wart is in a problematic place, like in the mouth or on the bottom of a paw, we would remove the wart rather than wait for it to resolve on its own,” Dr. Hammond says. “There are also some unfortunate dogs who get a lot of warts at one time. And in those cases, I usually recommend removing them for the dog’s comfort,” she adds.
Additionally, if a wart has changed in any way — for example, in size or color — a veterinarian may recommend removal. Potentially cancerous warts on dogs, as well as warts that become inflamed, infected, or fail to regress over time likely benefit from removal as well.
Veterinarians have a couple of methods for wart removal. The first option is to surgically cut off the wart under local anesthesia while the dog is mildly sedated. Another approach involves crushing the wart, which stimulates an immune response and prompts the body to eliminate the wart naturally. Crushing is typically performed under mild sedation and local anesthesia to ensure the dog's comfort. It’s not recommended to remove a dog wart on your own or use a human wart remover on dogs.
The cost of wart removal procedures can vary depending on the specific situation, which vet you choose, and where you live. For a young and healthy dog with one or two problematic warts, the removal cost typically ranges from $300 – $500,3 which includes local anesthesia and sedation.
If multiple warts need removal, general anesthesia might be required, increasing the cost to over $1,000. Factors such as age or compromised immunity may also affect the cost due to the need for additional monitoring.
One way to prevent your dog from getting warts is to keep them away from other dogs, but neither Dr. Hammond nor Dr. Elfenbein recommends this. “Keeping your puppy in a bubble just isn’t fair to the puppy,” Dr. Hammond says.
Dr. Elfenbein adds, “It’s unnecessary to be concerned about preventing warts, since they are benign and do not cause any harm to your dog.”
So let your pups play, warts and all!
If your veterinarian recommends removing a wart that’s causing discomfort or doing diagnostic testing to see if a lingering wart is malignant, a dog insurance policy from MetLife Pet could help cover those unexpected costs.
Get a free quote today to find out how MetLife Pet Insurance coverage can assist with wart and other common dog condition costs.