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Here's a short discussion (1997) of canine papillomatosis by a veterinary pathologist.
All medicine and pathology textbooks contain descriptions of oral papillomatosis in young dogs, but in fact it has been a very uncommon disease over the past 20 years. Within the last year, several diagnostic laboratories across the country have seen a dramatic increase in the prevalence of oral and cutaneous viral papillomas in dogs. I have seen more cases within the past year than in the previous 20 years combined. Examination of our records from 40 recent cases reveals that the lesions have been oral in 16 dogs. Six of the remaining 24 cutaneous cases have affected the digit. Age of affected dogs has ranged from 0.5 to 9 years, with a mean of 3.6 years. The majority of the affected dogs (31 of 40) have been under 4 years of age. The lesions are typical papillomas, consisting of papillary proliferation of vacuolated epithelial cells supported by long, thin fibrous stalks. I have not sought any follow-up information, but historically such lesions have undergone spontaneous remission because of immune recognition of the papillomaviral antigen within such tumors. Remission usually requires several weeks or months, and many veterinarians find it more expedient to excise such lesions if they are causing the dog discomfort.

It is not unusual for infectious disease to undergo periodic cycling within wild populations, reflecting the gradual disappearance of immune animals following a previous epizootic, and the emergence of a large, fully-susceptible population. Epidemiologic evidence suggests that immunity following papillomavirus infection is lifelong, so it would be logical to see small epizootics of papilloma infection every 10-15 years. I have not noted any particular geographic clustering in the current outbreak.
Some additional links on the subject

Canine Viral Papillomas (Mar Vista Animal Medical Center)
Canine Papillomaviruses (VetInfo)
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