The difficulty is that what appears to be a viral wart in older dogs is most likely a sebaceous gland tumor, which, while benign in 98 percent of cases, will not go away anytime soon.
It’s fairly uncommon for an elderly dog to develop a slew of “warts” that are actually sebaceous growths rather than warts.
They are usually only of cosmetic importance, however removal is advised in the following situations:
- when there has been bleeding from the growth
- when the growth is uncomfortable or in a bothersome area for the pet
- when the growth is in a place where it interferes with the pet’s routine grooming (i.e. the growth gets caught in the grooming clippers etc.).
- When there is a doubt about whether a growth is a sebaceous tumor and a biopsy is required to determine the answer.
Because these growths are usually small (about the size of a pea), they may usually be removed with a local anesthetic.
This is beneficial because many people are elderly and are not excellent candidates for anesthesia. Although it is usually impractical to remove all sebaceous growths, the most bothersome ones might be targeted for elimination.
Viral warts mainly affect young adult and adolescent dogs’ faces. Sebaceous gland tumors can appear anywhere on the body, in vast numbers, especially in older dogs (and occasionally in older cats).
Sebaceous gland tumors come in a variety of forms:
Sebaceous Hyperplasia Nodular
About half of sebaceous growths are technically benign and belong to the sebaceous hyperplasia group. This group is considered to eventually proceed to the benign tumors described below.
These lesions are spherical, cauliflower-like, and may leak a crusty substance.
They even bleed on occasion. Cocker spaniels, Beagles, Miniature Schnauzers, Poodles, and Dachshunds are all known to have them.
Technically, this development is not a tumor, but rather an area of increased sebaceous cell division.
Sebaceous Epithelioma is a type of sebaceous epithelioma.
This category includes another 37% of sebaceous growths. These appear to the naked eye to be the same as sebaceous hyperplasias, although they are more common in larger breeds and frequently occur on the eyelids or head.
They frequently turn black as a result of the pigmentation. They’re not merely areas of increased sebaceous cell division; they’re real benign tumors.
Sebaceous Adenoma is a type of sebaceous adenoma that
To the naked eye, these lesions appear to be identical to the others. These are also benign tumors that most likely developed from hyperplasia.
Sebaceous Carcinoma is a type of cancer that affects the sebaceous gland
Malignant sebaceous tumors account for about 2% of sebaceous tumors and can be locally invasive, however even malignant sebaceous tumors seldom spread.
They have a higher proclivity for ulceration than benign growths. Cocker spaniels appear to be susceptible to this behavior.
Again, in most situations, removing sebaceous gland tumors is straightforward and can often be done with only a topical anesthetic.
If more treatment is required, your veterinarian will inform you of your alternatives.
Cause or mode of transmission: A benign tumor of the skin’s oil gland (sebaceous) cells. These tumors are sometimes referred to as “old dog warts” due to their look, although they are not actual warts because they are not caused by a virus.
Affected dogs: Terriers, poodles, cocker spaniels, and miniature schnauzers are the most commonly affected breeds.
Single to many elevated, hairless, lobulated white to pale pink skin masses or occasionally pigmented skin masses that leak an oily white substance. The diameter of the masses ranges from 14″ to 1″. The trunk, legs, feet, and face are the most prevalent sites for tumors. They normally don’t create any problems unless they’re injured or infected subsequently, in which case the dog may lick or gnaw at the lesions.
Clinical presentation is the most prevalent method of diagnosis, however a biopsy is required for a confirmed diagnosis, which reveals a benign collection of neoplastic sebaceous cells.
Treatment: Because they are aesthetic lesions, vigorous treatment is rarely required. Lesions that grow, alter, or annoy the dog, on the other hand, should be removed and biopsied. Although surgical removal is curative, additional nodules frequently develop elsewhere as the dog ages. Oral retinoids (i.e. isotretinion) may inhibit the growth of nodules and reduce the production of new tumors in dogs with multiple tumors.
Prognosis: Good, as these tumors are benign; but, as the dog ages, more sebaceous adenoma dog tumors in chicken farms are more likely to develop.