Canine Papilloma Virus

Canine papilloma virus

     This is a disease caused by canine papilloma virus, which is different from the human one. Infection is spread by contact with an infected dog. The incubation period is 1-2 months.

     The canine papilloma virus is transmissible only to dogs and is not transmitted to humans or other animals.

     Some viruses are capable of producing skin cells called circular tumors frequently named warts. Everyone knows what a wart looks like, but what is important is that they can be found in dogs, round, multiple and usually present at once at many dogs, dogs that are in the same place. There can also be warts that are of a non-viral nature and are unique.

     The canine papilloma virus is not dangerous. The warts should disappear when the dog's immune system is mature enough to generate a response to the canine papilloma virus. There are only two known cases when the canine papilloma virus progressed on to malignant, but such cases are extremely rare and do not represent the natural course that we follow the evolution of human papilloma virus infection.

     In humans, warts have a round shape, relatively mobile and gray. Viral canine papilloma virus has a base from which to develop some growths, which gives the appearance of "anemone high" or "cauliflower", usually gray in color. Patients accustomed to viral papillomatosis are young dogs and papillomas are located in the mouth, around, or sometimes arount the eyes. At older dog, papillomas appear on the face, they have a different growth type and are a different type (they can be annoying because of the excessive growth; through removal and biopsy the veterinarian can determine the type, which can be benign or malignant).

     Do not be surprised if the biopsy shows that what you thought what a mole is something else.

     In dogs generally do not use the term "mole" but the "canine papilloma virus". Like humans, viral papillomas in dogs are caused by canine papilloma viruses, which is very important to remember though is that they do not cross species barriers, which means it cannot pass from human to dogs or vice versa.

How is the canine papilloma virus transmitted?

     Most often it is transmitted through direct contact with other dogs that have the canine papilloma virus but also by contact with virus from the infected environment. The incubation period is between 1-2 months. The canine papilloma virus can be transmitted only through infected dogs. The animals are not contagious to other animals or person. To become infected, the dog must have an "immature" immune system, and that primary infection occurs in newborn babies or young.

     Besides these data, the intimate mechanism of transmission is unknown. Survival of the canine papilloma virus in the external environment is of 2-6 months, depending on temperature.

Is viral papillomatosis dangerous?

     Not really. Dogs must be left alone, because its own forces to strengthen and to "grow" immune system, to be able to defend themselves from the canine papilloma virus. Only 2 cases were reported worldwide in which viral papillomatosis evolved to malignancies.

     Typically, these papillomas regress in 1-5 months, maybe faster in the areas around the eyes. Occasionally, some may remain for life.

     Sometimes oral papillomas become infected because of bacteria in the mouth. In these cases, you will want to use antibiotics to keep control of pain, inflammation and bad breath.


     In most cases there is no need for treatment and we just have to wait for them to disappear themselves. Less commonly, dogs with experience increased discomfort due to the size and large papillomas, surgery may be an option to remove the papillomas through cauterization. Only some of them can be removed and the host immune system is activated so that the other will disappear shortly. Interferon is also used at humans as treatment in severe cases. This treatment is also valid at dogs.

     Other times some papillomas are removed and from them an auto vaccine is prepared.