Friday, January 19, 2018

Canine Oral Papillomas - Natural Remedies for Viral Warts

Revised and Updated:  3/11/2024

If you notice a bump around your pup's mouth, it might be a common condition known as oral papilloma or viral warts.  Canine papillomas may seem sudden and alarming, but rest assured, they are a benign condition that typically resolves on its own.

What Are Canine Oral Papillomas?

Canine oral papillomas, also known as canine viral warts, are small benign growths caused by the papilloma virus, specifically the canine oral papillomavirus (COPV). These warts typically affect the mouth, lips, and sometimes the throat of dogs. They are most commonly seen in young dogs, often those under the age of two. 

Canine papillomas are highly contagious and can be transmitted through direct contact with an infected dog or contaminated objects, such as toys or bowls.  The incubation period for canine oral papillomas (time from when the dog was exposed to when the wart appears) can vary from 1-2 months so it may be hard to know where and when your dog acquired the virus.   

Canine papillomas are just one type of wart dogs can have.  Dogs can get other types of warts or growths especially as they get older.   While canine mouth warts are generally benign, they can sometimes cause irritation or bleeding if the dog rubs, bites or scratches it. 

Canine Papilloma Virus Is Not The Same As Human Papillomarivus (HPV)

Pet owners may notice these growths on or around their pup’s mouth or lips and refer to this condition as dog hpv virus or hpv on dogs.  However, Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a term specifically used to refer to viruses that infect humans.  The virus that causes these viral warts is a different group of viruses.  Canine Papillomaviruses are species-specific and do not infect humans, and human papillomavirus does not infect dogs.
What Do Canine Oral Papillomas Look Like?

Canine papillomas have a distinct appearance that makes them easily recognizable. These growths typically appear as small, raised, cauliflower-like structures in and around a dog's mouth, on the lips, gums, or palate.  They generally appear pinkish or light tan in color. They often have a rounded shape with multiple raised nodules.  Canine papillomas can vary in size and number.  Some dogs may have just one canine mouth wart, while others may get a cluster of warts. 

What Causes Canine Mouth Warts?

The primary cause of oral papillomas in dogs is the canine papillomavirus (CPV). The main reason oral papillomas affect young dogs under the age of two is that some may lack a mature immune system. The immune system identifies foreign invaders, like viruses, and mounts a defense to suppress them. However in a young pup, or a dog with a weakened immune system, the virus may proliferate, leading to the formation of papillomas.

Canine warts are highly contagious and it's common for dogs to have direct contact when they greet one another, feed or drink out of the same bowl or play with the same toys.  Kennels and dog parks are also an easy way  for dog viral warts to spread.   

Treatment of Canine Oral Papillomas

Generally, dog viral warts will resolve on their own but supporting your dog’s immune system can frequently speed up recovery time.  If the warts persist, grow large, or cause issues with eating, your veterinarian may recommend treatments such as cryotherapy (freezing) or surgical removal (rarely necessary). 

Duration of Canine Oral Papillomas 

The duration of canine oral papillomas can vary, but most cases resolve within 1 to 2 months. As a dog’s immune system strengthens, it produces antibodies against the virus and the warts can disappear. However, it is important to realize that the viral warts can come back in dogs with weakened immune systems.  The best natural treatment for oral papillomas is to build your pup's immune system using natural holistic supplements and a hypoallergenic, low inflammatory diet.    What you feed your dog can impact their overall immunity so feeding a high protein, hypoallergenic, low carbohydrate can be helpful.  Avoid sugary treats and high carbohydrate ingredients like grains and starchy carbohydrates.  A raw frozen novel protein diet is helpful. 

Natural Remedies For Canine Oral Papillomas 

Strengthening your dog’s immune system is the best way to speed up recovery from viral warts and help prevent them from coming back. 

Olive Leaf Extract  - Olive leaf extract contains compounds such as oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol, which have demonstrated antiviral properties in laboratory studies.  These compounds may interfere with the replication of viruses.

Quent Drops - Anti-viral homeopathic remedy that boosts immunity and is helpful for canine oral papillomas

Silver Support -  Silver sprays that can be applied topically on the surface of the skin and taken orally can help support a healthy immune system. 

Author:  Susan Blake Davis, Pet Health Nutritionist
Revised and Updated:  3/11/2024
Originally Published:  1/19/2018

All supplement protocols have been reviewed and approved by a veterinarian.