I work at a doggie daycare and a 6 m pup has a
cauliflower type sore on his lip. When owner took
him to the vet, he said it is common for pups to
get them and it is like kids getting chicken pox
in the sense its contagious and they only get it
once. Is this a real fact or does this puppy have
something worse? Can my puppy get it and can it
make her ill?
It sounds like the dog at your workplace has a wart.
True warts, caused by the canine papilloma virus (and therefore often called viral papillomas), generally are nothing to worry about. Viral papillomas are unsightly, cauliflower-like growths. They develop most commonly on the gums, lips, and chin. However, viral papillomas can occur on other parts of the body.
Viral papillomas technically are contagious. However, they tend to spread only to susceptible individuals. Puppies generally are more susceptible than adults. Adults almost never develop viral papillomas. Even among puppies, the virus is not highly contagious. If your puppy stays home and you wash your hands and change your clothes after work, it’s not likely that you will spread the virus to your pet.
True warts are self limiting in almost every case. This means that they resolve on their own without treatment. However, the warts often grow and proliferate for a period before they begin to fall off or shrink. I have never heard of viral papillomas leading to health problems. I do not recommend surgery or other treatments for viral papillomas.
There is no evidence that canine papillomas can spread to humans. Canine papilloma virus, unlike human papilloma virus (HPV), has not been linked to any cancers.
Older dogs often develop wart-like growths on their skin. These growths rarely turn out to be true warts. Cysts and benign tumors are much more common among mature dogs.
Any dog with a wart-like growth should see a vet. If the growth turns out to be a viral papilloma, then there is little to worry about.
Photo: No warts on Apollo.