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Warts and all: equine papilloma virus

Common in horses, equine warts – equine viral papillomatosis – are small lumps on the skin caused by an infectious virus. They affect the skin, particularly on the muzzle and lower part of the head of young horses from the age of six months to five years old.

Equine papilloma virus has an incubation period of about 60 days. The warts reach maturity after a growth period of four to eight weeks and usually disappear spontaneously about three to four months later. In this respect, they resemble human warts in that one day they can be extremely unpleasant, and then the next will suddenly vanish.

Warts are contagious, although some horses appear more susceptible than others.

Treatment is usually unnecessary and, provided that the warts are not infected, nor causing pain, they should go away on their own, given time. If they are causing a significant problem, consult your vet.

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