By: Dr. Shanna Plitt, Veterinarian
What is a “Wart”?
The term “wart” is used to describe small, pinkish (although they can occasionally have some dark pigment) growths on the top of the skin. Technically speaking, these growths are not actual “warts”, but are more correctly termed “benign sebaceous gland tumors”. However, the term “wart” has stuck, and we use that word much more frequently to describe these bumps.
What Causes “Warts”?
True warts are caused by a virus; however, the pink growths we often see on our adult and senior pets are not. These develop over time, much the same way as fatty tumors, cysts, and other benign growths. The important thing to recognize is that although 2% of these lumps are cancerous, most of them are benign.
When Should I Worry About a “Wart”?
Although removal of these lesions is generally due to cosmetic concern only, there are some times that removal should be more seriously considered, including:
- When the growth begins bleeding or scabbing
- When the growth becomes itchy or in a location that bothers your pet
- When the growth is often disrupted by grooming
- Whenever there is question as to whether the growth is truly “just a wart”
How Can I Get Rid of Warts?
Here at Huffard Animal Hospital, we offer two options for wart removal:
- Conventional Surgical Removal– this involves removal using standard, quick surgical approach with sutures placed to help the area heal. This may be done with local injectable Lidocaine anesthetic (numbing) or during an anesthetic episode for a concurrent procedure (i.e. dentistry). Sutures are removed in 12-14 days.
- Cryosurgical Removal/ “Freezing” – this involves using the Verruca-Freeze® system to induce controlled destruction of the affected tissue. Following two sessions spaced 2 weeks apart, most lesions fall off unassisted. There are no sutures necessary for this technique, but your pet still will need to refrain from licking the area.
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