Oral papillomas are painless warts that grow on the lips and in the mouths of dogs younger than 2 years old. They are caused by the canine oral papilloma virus. Initially, papillomas are small and pink. Over four to six weeks, they increase in size and take on a rough, grayish-white, cauliflowerlike appearance. As many as 50 to 100 papillomas may be present.
Skin papillomas caused by the same virus are common and occur on the surface of the eyelids and the skin of the body.
Treatment: Oral papillomas usually disappear spontaneously in 6 to 12 weeks. If they fail to do so, they can be removed by surgery, freezing, or electrocautery. Chemotherapy is effective in dogs with numerous lesions. The dog’s immune system makes antibodies that prevent reinfection.