From Dog
Iatrogenic pemphigus foliaceous on the nasal bridge and head of a dog

Pemphigus foliaceus (PF) is the most common antibody-mediated immune-mediated skin disease of dogs[1].

Pemphigus is a reactive auto-antibody response to desmocollin-1 (DSC1), a group of molecules responsible for intercellular adhesions within the desmosomes of epidermal keratinocytes[2][3]. In dogs, auto-antibodies attack intercellular matrices, resulting in cell lysis, release of inflammatory cytokines and disruption of organ function[4].

Three subgroups have been defined in dogs:

  • pemphigus vulgaris
  • pemphigus foliaceus
  • paraneoplastic pemphigus

Clinically affected dogs present with primary pustule which eventually rupture, leaving crusts which can be secondary infected.

Dogs show a typical distribution of the lesions on bridge of nose, periocular area, pinnae, nail beds and perimammal areas, areas rich in desmocollin-1.

An iatrogenic pemphigus foliaceous has been reported following topical drug reactions[5].

Diagnosis is based on histopathological biopsy samples testing, often showing eosinophilic infiltrates[6]. ELISA assays are available for detection of auto-immune-specific IgG antibodies[7].

A differential diagnosis would include lupus erythematosus, demodicosis and Leishmania spp infections.

Treatment is aimed at immunomodulation, usually with prednisolone, cyclosporin and sulfasalazine[8].


  1. Bizikova P et al (2012) Cloning and establishment of canine desmocollin-1 as a major auto-antigen in canine pemphigus foliaceus. Vet Immunol Immunopathol 149(3-4):197-207
  2. Yabuzoe A et al (2009) Canine pemphigus foliaceus antigen is localized within desmosomes of keratinocyte. Vet Immunol Immunopathol 127(1-2):57-64
  3. Olivry T et al' (2009) Investigations on the nature and pathogenicity of circulating antikeratinocyte antibodies in dogs with pemphigus foliaceus. Vet Dermatol 20(1):42-50
  4. Bizikova P et al (2011) Immunomapping of desmosomal and nondesmosomal adhesion molecules in healthy canine footpad, haired skin and buccal mucosal epithelia: comparison with canine pemphigus foliaceus serum immunoglobulin G staining patterns. Vet Dermatol 22(2):132-142
  5. Oberkirchner U et al (2011) Metaflumizone-amitraz (Promeris)-associated pustular acantholytic dermatitis in 22 dogs: evidence suggests contact drug-triggered pemphigus foliaceus. Vet Dermatol 22(5):436-448
  6. Vaughan DF et al (2010) Clinical and histopathological features of pemphigus foliaceus with and without eosinophilic infiltrates: a retrospective evaluation of 40 dogs. Vet Dermatol 21(2):166-174
  7. Nishifuji K et al (2009) Development of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for detection of circulating IgG autoantibodies against canine desmoglein 3 in dogs with pemphigus. Vet Dermatol 20(5-6):331-337
  8. Rosenkrantz WS (2004) Pemphigus: current therapy. Vet Dermatol 15(2):90-98