Treatment of Wart Virus in Dogs
If the warts are not affecting your dogs’ ability to eat, breathe or see, the most common treatment is no treatment at all. This is referred to as “benign neglect”, or just letting the virus run its course. Over time, the dogs’ immune system will strengthen and kill the virus on its own, and the warts will simply fall off. In some cases the vet will choose to squeeze the warts themselves, releasing the virus into the blood stream in an effort to speed up the immune response. It can take anywhere from 1 to 6 months for a full recovery, and during this time, the dog will have to be quarantined from any other susceptible dogs. The good news is, once a dog has healed from a CPV infection, they will carry immunity from the disease for the rest of their life and cannot be re-infected.
If the warts are so numerous or in a position where they are causing the dog quality-of-life issues, the veterinarian may choose to remove them surgically or by freezing them off. This will be done under with either a local or general anesthetic, depending on the location of the eruption. This is rarely necessary.
In some cases, the warts can get irritated and become infected. You veterinarian will prescribe an antibiotic and/or medicated wash to deal with the secondary infection, but this will not diminish the virus that causes the warts themselves.
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Diagnosis of Wart Virus in Dogs
You should isolate your dog and seek veterinary advice as soon as you suspect a canine wart infection. To assure a correct diagnosis, the veterinarian will do a thorough physical examination, and get a recent health and activity history. They will do an oral exam to be sure the warts are not impeding your dog’s ability to breathe or eat. If the diagnosis is uncertain, your veterinarian may want to take a fine needle aspirate or biopsy of the wart(s) to examine under a microscope.
If there is clear evidence that the papillomatosis has visibly changed the underlying skin or cellular structure, the veterinarian may request the help of a specialist. Consulting a pathologist will help the doctor determine if dangerous viral antibodies are present within the lesions. In this event, the veterinarian will avoid popping warts, which they may choose to do to release the virus into the blood stream to expedite the bodys natural removal process.