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Dog warts in my puppy’s mouth – should I do anything?

Vet Tony Buckwell advises on treatment

black labrador puppy

Make sure you do everything gradually

Q: My young labrador has a few dog warts in his mouth. Should I have these removed and can they be prevented?

A: Dog warts are generally harmless and probably won’t bother your dog unless they bleed or cause some degree of discomfort. Warts commonly occur on a dog’s lips, muzzle and around the eyelids, although they can occur anywhere on the body. They are commonly caused by canine papilloma virus and are usually seen in young dogs and puppies. (Read more on dog health here.)

Treatment usually isn’t necessary as they typically disappear once the dog’s immune system builds a defence against the virus. This process may take five months or longer, so don’t expect the warts to disappear as quickly as they may have emerged. Only if they persist, and become traumatised and start bleeding, will it be necessary to remove or cauterise them.

lump on dog's jaw

Lump on lip

Q: My vet is keen to anaesthetise my wheaten terrier to remove the lump on his lip (above). It is not really bothering him. Would you just leave it?

A:  It looks like a simple papilloma, which is a non malignant growth, a little like a human wart.

Your vet could try tying a nylon ligature carefully around the base of the mass, which should cut off its blood supply, causing it to fall off in about a week. It is not a job for clumsy fingers so ask your vet to do it, don’t do it yourself. If the procedure fails, little will have been lost.