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Pemphigus Erythematosus       

 

Common names or abbreviations:

bulletPemphigus

Description or definition:

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There are several related immune mediated skin disorders called pemphigus including, pemphigus foliaceus, pemphigus vulgaris, pemphigus erythematosus and pemphigus vegetans.  All of the pemphigus conditions involve an autoimmune response whereby the dog’s body produces antibodies against its own epidermis (the outer layer of the skin).  Auto immune disease is when the body’s tissues are attacked by its own immune system.  This happens when the immune system has detected a protein that is a normal part of the body but fails to recognize it.  In effect, the body is trying to fight off or reject a part of itself.
 
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Pemphigus vulgaris (PV): This is the most severe form of pemphigus, and is extremely rare.  The symptoms include severe ulceration of the skin in the areas of the mouth, nose, ears, eyes, anus, and genitalia.  The lesions may progress to other areas of the skin, especially in areas of frictions such as the groin and armpits.
 

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Pemphigus foliaceas (PF): This is the most commonly seen form of pemphigus.  It presents as pustules (puss filled blisters or pimples) just under the surface of the skin.  These pustules burst and dry into crusts or scabs.  The crusting/scabbing can be generalized (present over the entire body), but is most often confined to the head.  It typically begins at the nose (either on the haired part, or on the nose pad itself) and from there will spread to the skin around the eyes and the ears.  Occasionally, the footpads and nail area can be affected, and the dog can present with sloughing of the foot pads.  Other symptoms can include itchiness, alopecia (loss of hair), and loss of pigment in the nose.  Unlike PV, PF does not affect the oral cavity or other mucosal surfaces.  The lesions are more superficial, and less painful, than PF lesions.  Symptoms typically do not develop until around four years of age.
 

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Pemphigus Erythematosus (PE): This is one of the milder forms of the pemphigus conditions.  It is thought to be a milder version of pemphigus foliaceas.  Symptoms can include loss of pigment in the nose, itchiness, discharging sores and/or scabbing.  The symptoms usually begin on the bridge of the nose and generally remain limited to the skin around the nose, eyes, and the ears.  Like PF the symptoms of PE typically do not develop until the dog is around four years of age.
 

bulletPemphigus Vegitans: Pemphigus vegetans is another of the milder forms of the pemphigus conditions.  It is thought to be a less severe form of pemphigus vulgaris.  In this form of pemphigus, there may be pustules and papilloma (warty growths) that may ulcerate.  The condition is usually limited to the groin area, but can be generalized.

Diagnosis:

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A diagnosis of pemphigus is made by skin biopsy.

Treatment:

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Treatment depends on which type of pemphigus the dog has been diagnosed with.  Treatment often involves the use of prednisone, or another similar corticosteroid to control the symptoms such as skin scabs and scaling.  Treatment of the milder forms of the condition –  pemphigus erythematosus and pemphigus vegetans – may not be necessary.  When treatment is recommended, the conditions can often be managed with topical corticosteroids, sun avoidance, and/or low to medium dosages of prednisone.  The more severe forms of pemphigus usually require lifetime treatment and monitoring.  In these forms of the disease, it sometimes necessary to use the aforementioned treatment in combination with a second immune suppressive medication, or even chemotherapeutic agents, to get complete control of the disease.  For dogs that have lost pigment in the nose, protection against the sun is very important to prevent further  flare‑ups of the condition.  Dogs should be kept out of the sun between 10:00 and 3:00 and/or use sunscreens on the nose with SPF of 15 or higher.

Links to sites about this disease:

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http://www.vetinfo.com/dencyclopedia/depemphigus.html

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http://www.upei.ca/~cidd/Diseases/immune%20disorders/pemphigus.htm

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http://www.healthubs.com/pemphigus/

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http://www.vetinfo4dogs.com/dpemph.html

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http://www.vetinfo.com/dencyclopedia/depemphigus.html

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http://www.pemphigus.org/am_animals.html

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http://www.vetinfo.com/dpemph.html

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http://www.geocities.com/CollegePark/Field/5413/pemphigus.htm

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http://www.maxshouse.com/Diseases_of_the_Skin/pemphigus_foliaceus.htm

This summary provided by:

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Jessica S

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Wildfire Kennel

 

Dedicated to improving the health of ISSR Shiloh Shepherds.

 


Copyright © 1998 - 2009. Shiloh Shepherd Dog™ Club of America.
All rights reserved. Revised: January 2008

The information on this website was written by ISSR breeders and other concerned individuals, however we are are NOT veterinarians. This information is being provided as a general overview, from information we were able to find about each disease through our own research. These summaries are not intended to be relied upon as medical or veterinary advice, nor do we consider ourselves experts in the veterinary field or in any of these conditions. While we do our best to provide the most up to date information, new research is constantly being done on these diseases. We recommend that you do further study and talk to your veterinarian on any topics you see here, as we cannot guarantee that the information posted here is the most current information available.  This site was originally designed and maintained by Debbie Knatz.