You might resort to over-the-counter wart treatment if those little nasties erupt on your hands, feet or elsewhere, but it's not the remedy for your dog. Not only will it not work, but canine warts generally appear around the mouth or eyes. You don't want your dog licking the treatment.
Technically known as viral papillomas, warts most often appear on dogs under the age of 2. That's because these young animals have a relatively immature immune system susceptible to the virus. It's usually warts plural, not singular, as they tend to form in clusters. Canines catch the virus from other canines, but warts in some breeds have a genetic basis. Older dogs develop a different sort of wart, not caused by this virus. Rarely, an old dog wart is actually a mast cell tumor. Take your old guy to the vet for a checkup and an examination of any warts. If these warts continue growing or change color, notify your vet.
Human Versus Canine Warts
If you've ever experienced warts, it's likely they were flat, round and smooth, showing up on your toes, feet, fingers, hands or privates. Canine warts often look like little pieces of cauliflower around the mouth or eyes. While both human and canine warts result from papillomavirus, they're not the same kind, and you can't catch warts from your dog and vice versa.
Most of the time, warts disappear on their own within one to five months after making an appearance, so a little benign neglect is fine. If the warts don't go away after six months or so, or if there are so many of them around your dog's mouth or eyelids that they affect his ability to eat or see properly, your dog might benefit from their removal by surgery or another means. Your vet must make sure that the wart is indeed benign and not a malignant growth, via a biopsy. That's especially true if the warts appear in an older canine.
If your vet deems it in the dog's best interest to remove the warts, she can remove them surgically with a scalpel or laser or by freezing them off cryogenically. She'll prescribe antibiotics after the operation. If the warts were removed from inside your dog's mouth, he will need to eat soft foods until his mouth heals. If the warts aren't harming anything but your dog's beauty and you want them gone, your vet might prescribe azithromycin, an antibiotic that might rid your dog of warts within two weeks, according to VeterinaryPartner.com. By crushing multiple growths, your vet might also jump-start your dog's immune system for wart regression.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.