Warts in cattle are caused by the contagious virus papillomavirus. Four types of the virus are known to produce warts on cattle.
Calves are most susceptible with few cases of warts seen in cattle over 2 years of age. Warts appear 1 to 6 months after infection with the virus. Not all animals carrying the virus will have warts. It can be transmitted from the unapparent carrier to the susceptible calf.
Warts are usually more of an appearance problem than a physical problem. Warts usually shrink and drop off after a few months. This spontaneous recovery is probably the basis for the alleged effectiveness of many home treatments including rubbing with various kinds of oil, toothpaste of various brands, etc.
If there is a severe outbreat in the herd an autogenous vaccine can be prepared from chemically treated warts taken from animals in a herd. This autogenous vaccine is more apt to have the strain or type of papillomavirus causing the wart problem in the herd than the commercial vaccines. Warts can also be removed surgically with a scissors or a side cutter.
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Information contained in this article from one or more of the following:
Alabama Cooperative Extension System
South Carolina Extension Service
Nebraska Extension Service
Oklahoma State Cooperative Extension Service
University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension
University of Minnesota Extension Service