My dog has a small lump on her head

Dr Pete Wedderburn / 20 November 2018

A reader wants to know whether there are topical treatments for a wart-like lump on her dog's head.



Question

My dog has developed a small lump on her head, it looks like a wart but my vet says he can only rule out anything more serious with a biopsy. Is there a wart treatment I can try first, to see if it makes a difference?

Answer

Warts in humans are skin growths caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Most skin growths in dogs are not caused by a virus. Human home treatments for warts, based on anti-virus medication, will therefore have no effect on most skin lumps on dogs. Most wart-like lumps in dogs are benign skin tumours but a biopsy is important to rule out cancerous causes.

A simple fine needle biopsy can often be done by vets during a consultation, with no need for sedation or anaesthesia. After this, the vet can discuss the best approach (which may be to do nothing: many benign skin lumps in dogs can be left alone, as they are only cosmetic).

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