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Published December 02, 2011, 12:00 AM

Pet Care: Vitamin E works on warts

Dear Dr. Fox: I just wanted to share my experience for treating warts on my 7-year-old Maltipoo.

By: By Dr. Michael Fox, INFORUM

Dear Dr. Fox: I just wanted to share my experience for treating warts on my 7-year-old Maltipoo.

An article I read on the Internet had suggested treatment with vitamin E. I applied the vitamin E twice a day to her wart, and after about 10 days the top portion of the wart formed a scab. The scab continued to form down the wart, and I snipped it off after about four weeks. The remaining portion of the wart healed, and the scab fell off by itself two weeks later with this treatment. I continue to treat the tiny bump that remains, which is just about gone. – P.S., Virginia Beach, Va.

Dear P.S.: Many readers whose dogs have warts will appreciate your affirmation of the effectiveness of vitamin E in treating this common skin disease. It is most prevalent in young dogs (who usually develop immunity) and in older dogs whose immune systems have become impaired (often associated with low thyroid activity).

The agent responsible is a papilloma virus that is, fortunately, species-specific in that dogs’ warts are not transmissible to humans.

While 20-some varieties of this virus have been identified in human warts, only three varieties have been found afflicting dogs. Cocker spaniels and Kerry blue terriers seem to be particularly prone to one kind that affects the skin. In young dogs, the virus invades the mucous membrane/skin border along the lips and eyelids, occasionally invading the oral cavity and esophagus.

In the photo gallery on my website,, you will see documentation of how my dog Tanza removed, with amazing precision, three large warts I discovered and showed her the night before inside the lip of our other dog Lizzie – a remarkable feat of “canine surgery”!

Dear Dr. Fox: I have a 15-year-old domestic cat. At the end of last year, he started to have a mucous, almost guttural cough. He would sound like he was ready to cough up a hair ball, but nothing came up.

He has been to the vet several times since then for the same thing. At one visit, I was told he had asthma (after an X-ray had been taken). I am a nurse and have never heard any wheezing or observed any rapid breathing. He was given an injection of Solu-Medrol, and we were told to return if needed. We returned, another dose of Solu- Medrol was given and he was put on prednisone. Again, we had to return as his cough had not gotten any better. Since then, he has had a third dose of Solu-Medrol. I was told to stop the prednisone and come back if needed. Blood work was done and he had an elevated eosinophil level. He was also exposed to heartworms at some time in his life. We had to return three weeks ago. I reviewed the X-ray with the doctor and was told there was a “touch of asthma.” He was then placed on Lasix BID.

I am dumbfounded as to what is going on with him. Why can’t anyone tell me what he has? If you have any suggestions, I would appreciate your advice. – A.M., West Palm Beach, Fla.

Dear A.M.: The Solu-Medrol is probably increasing your cat’s appetite and may be contributing to weight loss. I would not repeat this injection, since his condition seems to be deteriorating and this steroid can cause ulcers in the digestive tract. Foul-smelling stools may be a sign of this, and treatment with oral antibiotics followed by probiotics should be considered. The elevated eosinophil count could reflect a continuing, unresolved heartworm infestation that needs to be ruled out with an appropriate blood test.

Asthmatic conditions in cats are sometimes associated with food allergy. Possible congestive heart failure should not be ruled out. This may not be the only health issue that needs to be investigated; others may include lung disease and cancer.

Above all, focus on your cat’s quality of life and enjoyment of food. Gerber’s turkey, beef and chicken baby foods may build his strength, and supplements such as fish oil and CoQ 10 may prove beneficial.

Send your questions to Dr. Fox in care of The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns. Visit Dr. Fox’s website,