When we took Phoebe to the vet back on 10/29, the vet honed in on a little wart growing on Phoebe’s lip. I really did not think it was a big deal until the vet told me that it was caused by the papilloma virus and is contagious among dogs. Oh man!

The warts do not appear until weeks – sometimes as long as three months – after exposure and the odds of exposure resulting in an actual outbreak are higher in dogs with weakened immune systems. One article I read clearly pointed out,

“The most preventative method of keeping a dog healthy from the virus is making sure the dog’s immune system is as strong as possible.”

Another article states,

“…because all canine papilloma viruses are opportunistic, they only flare in bodies with immune systems that aren’t 100 percent healthy.”

Wow! A double whammie! Let’s toss this papilloma issue in both the “things acquired prior to adoption” bucket AND the “potential signs of a weakened immune system” bucket. While I am at it, I might as well put out a new bucket and label it  “how to bring training classes to a screeching halt.”

I told the vet that we had signed Phoebe up for some training classes that are due to start in January (two months away). She explained that some training facilities will not allow a dog to attend classes, while others may allow it by  isolating the dog from the rest of the class. Both options stink!

I took a picture of the wart while we were waiting for the vet to do some lab work on some of Phoebe’s other issues. To be honest, up until I went to crop the picture for this post it looked like a flat little wart to me. Once the image is cropped and blown up in its full glory, that innocuous little wart looks pretty darn gross to me.

The location of the wart on Phoebe's face
The location of the wart on Phoebe’s face
Papilloma wart -no more than 7 weeks after eruption
Papilloma wart -no more than 7 weeks after eruption

The wart was not there on our 09/07 visit; it was a new discovery. Since it had popped up recently, I was hoping that I could get the thing to resolve quickly if I took action right away. As I searched for information one thing that kept popping up was the use of Thuja. I had no clue what it was, but went on a hunt for it anyway. It is not something that you will find on the shelves of the local grocery story. I finally found it at a vitamin store. I envisioned oil, but it turned out to be a little tube of round pills.

???????????????????????Though I had Thuja in-hand, I had yet to find anything that specifically stated how much, how often, or what form (pill or oil) I could safely use on Phoebe. It was clear that people had used it successfully, but I was not willing to learn via trial and error. It took awhile, but I finally found the answer:

Give two 30c pills. Wait two weeks, and then give another dose if needed.

I gave Phoebe her first does on October 31st. The instructions were to crush them, but they were too hard. I wound up just adding them to her food as-is. I took picture of her wart for use as a reference point (to see if the Thuja was working or not). Then I just sat back and waited.

The wart on the day I gave the first dose of Thuja. It is at a slightly different angle than at the vet's office, but still ugly.
The wart on the day I gave the first dose of Thuja. It is at a slightly different angle than at the vet’s office, but still ugly.

I checked the wart a week later and it appeared to be a little rougher around the edges. I don’t know. I guess I was hoping that it would shrivel up and just fall off or something. After two weeks it was still there and seemed a tiny bit larger.

Phoebe got her second dose of Thuja on November 13th.  I wanted to make sure to crush the second dose, but it was not easy to do. The pills are like little round rocks. Every time I went to crush them, they would shoot out across the floor. Finally, I put them in a piece of plastic wrap, which acted as a mini-gripper. That didn’t work either. As a last ditch attempt, I put them between two pieces of plastic wrap, grabbed a rubber mallet and gave a little whack (they weren’t going to break any other way – far too small for a spice mill or anything). That did the trick!

I had a little pile of powder that I sprinkled on some pumpkin and Phoebe licked it right up.

Again, I played the waiting game, but the wart has not gone away. In fact, the little sea anemone look I have read about is becoming visible without any camera magnification (a bit discouraging). Still, on a positive note, I have not noticed any new warts popping up on Phoebe’s body, and even though the existing one is growing ‘tentacles’ the diameter has not gotten any larger. It still appears to be self-contained, which is a good thing considering the correlation between the immune system and the potential severity of an outbreak.

The wart after four weeks of Thuja. The 'tentacles' seem thinner, but longer
The wart after four weeks of Thuja. The ‘tentacles’ seem thinner, but longer

I just gave Phoebe her third  dose of Thuja. If this one  does not work then I will have to let it run its course, hoping it does not get worse. I’ll post an update in two weeks and take it from there.

In the meantime, Phoebe is still signed up to start her beginner training at the local American Kennel Club (AKC) training club, which is also a testing facility for Therapy Dogs International and has an AKC Therapy Program. If this wart does not go away in the next six weeks, then most likely  Phoebe will not be able to attend classes. If that is the case, I am hoping the training club will let us reschedule for a few months down the road. I guess I just have to keep in mind that if she can not start training in January, it’s not defeat; it is just deferral.

Just to be safe, we are trying to plan ahead and think of ways to  bump up the training regime at home until she can get to class. The real downside to training Phoebe while she is semi-quarantined is the inability to teach her to listen when surrounded by chaos. Plus, I will need a little dose of self-discipline myself. It is a lot easier for me to let things slide off my plate when it is blended alongside other day-to-day activities at home.

Here is hoping to some miraculous recovery over the next few weeks. Miraculous being the operative word here.

It will be interesting to see what the next two weeks brings.