Home » Pet Health » Canine Viruses and Infections » What are the Symptoms of CTVT?


If your dog has been in contact with a CTVT-infected dog, or you have other reasons to believe your furry friend may have contracted the disease, there are signs to look for.

The main indication of CTVT is the presence of a tumor that has a cauliflower-like appearance. You will most likely find it on your dog’s genitalia and may become aware of it when you notice your dog licking the area excessively. In the early stages of tumor growth, it is common to see a bloody discharge in the area. The development of the tumor might also lead to deformation of the genitalia. Additional, less frequent signs of CTVT in the genitalia include pain while urinating, constipation, and ulcers near the bum.

Tumors may also be present in other areas of the body, such as the nose or mouth. Symptoms associated with tumors present in places other than on the genitals might include the following:

    • Sneezing and nosebleeds
    • Excessive tear production
    • Bad breath
    • A change to their gumline
    • Protruding eyes
    • Bumps on the skin
    • Face or mouth deformity
    • Enlarged lymph nodes

In rare cases, additional symptoms may include the following:

    • Fatigue
    • Weakness
    • Disinterest in food
    • Weight loss
    • Disinterest in mating
    • Infertility
    • Anemia

In addition, CTVT-infected dogs are at a higher risk of having bacteria in their urine because the tumor may prevent them from urinating, holding the urine in, making it susceptible to bacterial infection.

There are also signs of disease at the cellular level. Therefore, if your dog demonstrates any of the above signs, your vet can confirm the diagnosis based on symptoms, laboratory tests, and microscopic examination of the tissue.

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Last Updated: July 29, 2022

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The following sources were referenced to write the content on this page:

Batamuzi, EK & Kristensen, F 1996, ‘Urinary tract infection: the role of canine transmissible venereal tumour’, J Small Anim Pract, vol. 37, no. 6, pp. 276–279.

Ganguly, B, Das, U & Das, AK 2016, ‘Canine transmissible venereal tumour: a review’, Vet Comp Oncol, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 1-12.

Hiblu, MA, Khabuli, NM & Gaja, AO 2019, ‘Canine transmissible venereal tumor: first report of three clinical cases from Tripoli, Libya’, Open Vet J, vol. 9, no. 2, pp.103-105.

Papazoglou, LG, Koutinas, AF, Plevraki, AG & Tontis, D 2001, ‘Primary intranasal transmissible venereal tumour in the dog: a retrospective study of six spontaneous cases’, J Vet Med A Physiol Pathol Clin Med, vol. 48, no. 7, pp. 391–400

The Pet Cancer Foundation’s medical resource for pet owners is protected by copyright.

For reprint requests, please see our Content Usage Policy.