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5 things to do if your old dog has bleeding warts

Golden retriever dog advice
© Pixabay

There are many types of canine warts that old dogs can have; most of them are benign and painless and appear on several body locations, in the mouth, on legs and paws and in between the toes. They generally don’t cause a problem until they begin to bleed

By Dawn Parrish

What are Canine Warts?

Also known as papillomas or fibropapillomas. If they develop in the dog’s mouth, they are known as oral cavity papillomas. The dog will try to swallow and chew normally, but as a result of warts, may have some discomfort, bad breath or drool. Warts on the superficial skin layers, cutaneous papillomas, often appear on the feet and lower legs. Likewise, they may grow between the dog’s toes and on the footpad. A dog will naturally chew and lick at these warts as they become annoying when they can become painful or even bleed. Due to these blights, there is a chance that the dog will develop secondary bacterial skin infections or even lameness.

Symptoms of warts in older dogs

These canine warts can develop with any of the following symptoms:

Raised bumps or lumps on the dog’s skin. Commonly found on the face, feet, around  the eyes and in the mouth

  • May resemble tiny cauliflowers. Can be rough with several frond-like adhesions     
  • Can also be smooth, solitary or isolated      
  • Warts occur in clusters, increasing in number and size         
  • Because the old dog is likely to scratch or lick, warts may be irritated or bleeding      
  • Old dogs are predisposed to warts on the underbelly, around the legs and on the feet.

As a dog gets older

A variety of health conditions develop as our dog’s age. Their hearing deteriorates, their eyes become cloudy and their walk slows down. Likewise, lumps may develop on their body, although the majority of these are diagnosed as benign tumours requiring no medical treatment. Many owners discover that their old pet is getting warts. They also wonder if there is something they can do to prevent these growths, especially if they begin bleeding. There are several possible cures that you can use to treat these canine warts.

Remedy no. 1

A bleeding wart can be surgically removed, almost certainly if they are impeding the dog’s movement. This cryosurgery consists of the offending growth being frozen and consequently removed over a period of several weeks or days.

Remedy no. 2

Natural products can also be used to treat papillomas on an old dog. Vitamin E oil placed directly onto the growth will cause it to shrink in size. Puncture a Vitamin E oil capsule, and drip the liquid onto the lump several times daily.

Remedy no. 3

Laser Ablation or radiation therapy. This treatment is normally used when all other types of treatment have failed to remove the lesions, due to the fact that it attacks the root of the lump. It involves anaesthesia which is more of a risk in an old dog.

Remedy no. 4

Although this won’t actually remove the bleeding wart itself, it will give relief to an old dog. Apply castor oil daily using a cotton swab, to relieve irritation and soften the growth.

Remedy no. 5

Treatment with antibiotics as an oral dose. This treatment is standard medication for humans with warts but also appears to work when prescribed for dogs too.

Are canine warts contagious?

The answer is almost certainly, yes, but only to other dogs.

Joan Rest, BVSc, PhD, MRCPath, MRCVS of VCA Hospitals, states that

"Although this is an infectious tumour, the viruses are species-specific and not transmissible to humans."

The virus enters your pet’s body through areas of inflammation, insect bites, scrapes or cuts, when in direct contact with another canine. Canine Papillomas Virus or CPV can attack when your old dog’s immune system is low. Even more important is the need to keep your infected dog isolated, away from other older dogs and young puppies. Strengthen your dog’s immune system with natural antioxidants that are found in green tea and with vitamins E and A. Above all, this will help your senior dog to fight off infections.

Older dogs get warts on their feet
Older dogs are more at risk of warts on their feet © Pixabay

A normal part of ageing

As our dogs get older, for a large number of dogs, papillomas are a normal component of health changes. Fur type and breed can also play a large part in your dog developing them. Some Terriers, Poodles, Cocker Spaniels and Bichon Frise breeds are more prone to contracting warts. However, all breeds can develop these growths as they become older.