Papilloma virus

From Cow
Lesions in an adult cow due to papillomatosis

Papilloma is a common neoplastic viral disease that affects cattle worldwide.

The virus is transmitted by direct contact, fomites, and possibly by insects[1]. Twelve types of bovine papillomavirus (BPV) have been described[2]. They are the etiologic agent of papillomatosis and neoplasia of the upper gastrointestinal tract and urinary bladder[3].

Papillomatosis (generalised papillomas) are often seen in calves on the head, neck, and shoulders, and occasionally on the back and abdomen. Urinary tumours have also been reported.

Some lesions develop into papulonodules with a warty surface. Such fibropapillomas may involve the venereal regions where they can cause pain, disfigurement, infection of the penis of young bulls, and dystocia when the vaginal mucosa of heifers is affected.

A form of persistent cutaneous papillomatosis with smaller numbers of papillomas may be seen in herds of older cattle. A bovine papilloma virus has also been demonstrated in bladder tumors associated with bracken fern poisoning.

Diagnosis is primarily based on presenting clinical signs augmented with laboratory determination of viral antigens using PCR assays[4].

Vaccines are available but due to the small incidence of this disease in cattle are rarely warranted.


  1. Merck Vet Manual
  2. Melo TC et al (2011) Cytogenetic studies in peripheral blood of bovines afflicted by papillomatosis. Vet Comp Oncol 9(4):269-274
  3. Zhu W et al (2012) Characterization of novel bovine papillomavirus type 12 (BPV-12) causing epithelial papilloma. Arch Virol 157(1):85-91
  4. Pathania S et al (2012) Detection and quantification of bovine papilloma virus type 2 (BPV-2) by real-time PCR in urine and urinary bladder lesions in enzootic bovine haematuria (EBH)-affected cows. Transbound Emerg Dis 59(1):79-84