Olive is a young, little dog that arrived at the Guelph Humane Society (GHS) this past August.  She was found alone, outside on the side of a country road.  She was very thin and covered in burrs.  

Her coat was dull and unkempt. But what was most alarming about Olive’s condition were the growths on her face.  She had them inside of her mouth and clusters on her lips and all around her upper and lower jaw.   

Dog with oral papillomavirus
Olive as she arrived at GHS, covered in burrs and with an extreme case of papillomavirus.

It was clear that she had either been alone for a very long time, or this was a case of extreme neglect.  

Olive was in pain and in desperate need of treatment.  GHS sought out medical attention to ease her suffering, immediately.    

She received a biopsy and was diagnosed with oral papillomavirus, a highly contagious disease in dogs.  

Her case was severe, one of the worst that we or her veterinarian had ever seen.   

“The growths were causing her a lot of discomfort.  They made it difficult for her to eat,” says Samantha Westphal, GHS’s Animal Care Manager. “ In her first few days at GHS, my team often found her rubbing her face in an effort to find some relief.   We were doing everything possible to make Olive feel comfortable as her care plan was being developed. I was heartbreaking for the team to watch.”  

Most dogs that contract papillomavirus recover quite quickly and easily, but it was clear that Olive’s case was extreme, and she would have a long road to recovery.   

Despite the pain and discomfort Olive’s delightful personality never wavered. 

Dog in dog bed with pink collar
Olive after her surgery.

She stole the hearts of the entire GHS team who desperately wanted to help her to feel better.    

After a few of weeks, Olive wasn’t responding to conventional treatments. The veterinarian recommended a consult with a specialist, and it was determined that surgery to remove the growths would be Olive’s best option.  

In early October, she received the surgery she needed.  But specialty cases can often require specialty treatments. 

Olive’s complex veterinary care and treatment exceeded $5,000 and while she has recovered quite well from surgery, the procedure was not a cure.  

While Olive’s most severe and painful growths have been removed, her medical issues are not over as her case of papillomavirus is incredibly persistent. There are already some growths reappearing in her mouth and additional surgery may be needed.  

To help Olive’s recovery she was prescribed medication only available through an emergency drug release from the United Kingdom to minimize the risk of the masses returning and to help her body build immunity to the virus.  

She will need to be on this special medication for at least a year.   

GHS provides more than $350,000 in veterinary care each year for animals like Olive, this care that is only possible through the generosity of our supporters. Veterinary care provided by GHS is 100 per cent paid for with donor dollars and reliant upon gifts made to GHS. If you are considering making a charitable donation this holiday season, please think about Olive and how your gift can help so many others like her.  Your support creates possibilities and happy tails for our community’s most vulnerable animals.  

Donations to the Guelph Humane Society can be made online. 

Olive was in GHS’s care for 118 days, she found her happy tail with a family dedicated to her ongoing care needs and was adopted on December 12, 2022.


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