Viral papillomas are generally self-limiting and will resolve over a period of weeks to months. Typically, no therapy is required.
After regression, patients are generally immune to reinfection.19 However, there are reasons to initiate therapy in suspected cases of papillomatosis. First, the papillomas can become infected,
which may result in marked local inflammation. Also, they can mimic more aggressive tumors, and, finally, malignant transformation
has been reported.20
Consider surgical removal or debulking with histologic analysis in patients in which the masses are severely infected or are
large and interfere with mastication.12 In addition, histology (ideally excisional) should be pursued if the growths are not regressing or look atypical. Excision
can be performed with a standard surgical approach, cryosurgery, electrosurgery, or laser therapy.
Additional therapeutic measures in persistent cases include vaccination, traumatic crushing, and chemotherapy.12 However, vaccination has not proved particularly successful, and squamous cell carcinomas have been reported to arise at
the injection sites.21
Brook A. Niemiec, DVM, DAVDC
Southern California Veterinary Dental Specialties
5610 Kearny Mesa Road, Suite B1
San Diego, CA 92111
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