How to Treat Warts In Young Horses? Are They Dangerous?

Warts are not uncommon in young horses. The scientific name for warts is Equine Papillomavirus, though it can go by other synonyms like “papilloma” or “warts”.

Papillomas are a type of equine warts in young horses and they’re usually not painful or harmful in any way! These harmless baby warts should only be treated if you want to get rid of them quickly.

Because once mature though; these pesky growths won’t bother your horse anymore.

But let’s take a closer look at them in this post, shall we?

What Causes Warts in Young Horses?

Warts are caused by a virus and they won’t come back once your horse gets rid of them.

This means that it’s more common in younger horses, which can lead to some concern about spreading the infection at barns or around other naive animals for long periods without proper care is taken when handling these carriers (like horse racing tracks).

Supposing you were to try and prevent the virus from spreading throughout your barn, it would be impossible.

The only way for one horse in my area with warts is when they come into contact with other horses that also have them but even then most cases aren’t passed on because these viruses are so benign!


What Are the Symptoms?

I had seen cases before, so it wasn’t a surprise to me. However, if you’re new to horses and don’t know what warts look like then this could be worrisome for your horse at first glance- especially since they come in many colors!

My horse had small, flesh-colored bumps on his nose and eyelids. They kind of looked like cauliflower but they didn’t seem to itch or hurt him at all! One day though he scratched one of them too hard and it started bleeding a little bit.

From the pictures, it’s clear that this horse has warts on its nose. They can be found in various locations including outside or inside of their muzzle and nostrils/nose area depending on how severe they are!

How to Treat Them?

If you’re ever worried about something on your horse’s skin, please take a picture and send it off to the vet for confirmation. Even if you suspect it’s just harmless warts because it might be something else. And you don’t want to treat the disease too late, right?

Now, for warts (if you’re 100% sure it’s them), the best treatment is just to leave them alone.

I’ve never worried about a horse getting these and my experience has been limited with only one baby who had gotten hers.

But all the other babies that came into contact seemed fine so it seems like this occurrence was an isolated case rather than something contagious or potentially life-threatening disease spreading through the barn.

The horse above never had any lasting effects or scarring from his warts. They came and went without much incident.

But none of the other horses in that barn contracted them either; they were all older than him though.

Should You Buy a Horse With Warts?

I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Well, I don’t think a horse should be judged on its appearance and if it has warts then they’re going to detract from what could potentially be an awesome-looking palomino with perfect conformation or markings!

The truth behind these pesky little growths? They usually go away within months but sometimes scraping them off can get pretty nasty so make sure whatever ointment/salve treatment method.

The Importance of Keeping a Record

Warts are actually the most common contagious skin disease in horses. When you notice them, write down how long ago and if there were any changes to their appearance or location since then.

It could help with diagnosis!

I’d recommend checking weekly for about six months following that initial visit, but sometimes they don’t go away right away so make sure not to miss anything by keeping records properly.

How to Prevent Papillomas

Papillomas in horses can’t always be prevented but there are some steps that horse owners could take to lower their chances.

A good example would be basic stable hygiene, like keeping your equine friend’s nails clipped and noting any hotspots or rubs where they may accumulate dirt easily because these places will become home for more warts if left untreated!

You’ll want to disinfect barns and other areas in order to get rid of any lingering organisms. A diluted bleach solution works well for this purpose; it can also be applied directly onto feeding equipment or stall walls that need some extra sanitizing!

You may consider scrubbing tack with soap and water before storing them away again once the disease has passed: just make sure not to reuse cleaning materials on anything but clean items since they could carry infection into another part of your farm too.

You may be thinking that some of your horses are old, but don’t worry about them!

They rarely get warts and can only contract the virus once in their lifetime.

Still, bumps or lumps on an older animal could signify other medical problems so it’s best to take care of any wounds immediately if you notice anything unusual happening around these areas.


If you have a young horse and it has warts, don’t panic. It’s not an emergency situation. Horses commonly get them when they’re in their early teens, but they can crop up at any time.

They’re benign meaning that they won’t harm the animal or affect its quality of life in any way so there’s no need to rush your little one off to see the vet for this problem!

But if you want to be sure, a visit to your trusted vet would be recommended as well. Who knows what other diseases your horse might be having, right?

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