Q:

Should you take your dog to the vet to treat a wart?

A:

Quick Answer

Although it is not an emergency, it is a good idea to have a veterinarian examine any warts or lumps that develop on a dog's skin. Wart-like growths can be a symptom of skin cancer.

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Should you take your dog to the vet to treat a wart?
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Full Answer

Most warts and other growths on a dog's skin are harmless or benign tumors, but it is difficult for the average owner to assess the risk just by looking at the growth. True warts, which are caused by the papillomavirus, are usually benign and go away on their own eventually. However, they can sometimes develop into a malignant form of skin cancer. Examination by a qualified veterinarian is the safest way to determine individual risk and appropriate treatment.

Warts may also need veterinary treatment based on their location. Warts often develop on the lips or in the mouth, which causes bad breath and drooling. It can be uncomfortable for the dog and cause problems with eating. Severe warts may need surgical removal for the dog's health and comfort. Warts also may need to be removed if they are located around the eyes or genitals due to irritation or blockages.

The papillomavirus is contagious, so it is also a good idea to consult with a veterinarian about how to prevent transmission to other dogs. Uninfected dogs living in the same household may benefit from the papillomavirus vaccine.

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