Bovine papillomatosis

Veterinary advice should be sought before applying any treatment or vaccine.

Bovine Papillomatosis

Bovine papillomatosis is a contagious skin disease of cattle, caused by 6 different serotypes of the bovine papillomavirus (BPV). It can occur in cattle of all ages, but is most often seen in calves under 2 years of age, as they are most susceptible. They often develop warts at the location of their tattoo or ear tag, and often spreads to other sites on the head and neck. Occasionally lactating dairy cows become infected, and develop warts on their teats. The warts will usually shrink and fall off after a couple of months.

May be confused with ringworm or the cutaneous form of lymphosarcoma during the early stages.

Calves are most frequently infected when tattooed or ear tagged for identification purposes.

Incubation period
Clinical signs of infection with the virus develop 1 to 6 months after exposure.




  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Laboratory tests


Treatment TypeDetailsReference
Often no treatment is needed
Inactivated vaccine
Surgical removal


  • Commercial inactivated vaccine is available
  • Disinfection of equipment, instruments and tack used on infected animals



Article Reference

Risk Factors

  • Ear tagging and/or tattooing multiple calves without disinfecting equipment
  • High populations of ticks

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