Dog Autoimmune Disease: Pemphigus in Dogs

Pemphigus is a common dog autoimmune skin disease. It involves crusting and ulceration of the skin and formation of vesicles (fluid-filled cysts and sacs) and pustules (pus-filled lesions). Certain types of pemphigus affect skin tissue of gums. If you are searching for detailed information on dog autoimmune disease, please visit You can also search generally on the internet for accurate information. Here in this blog, we have explained about the common autoimmune disease- Pemphigus in dogs.


Autoimmune disease is referred as occurrence of antibodies formed by system. It responds against healthy tissues and cells of the body. If the antibodies get deposited deeply in the body, it will remain severe. It deposits into skin layers and affects the entire body system. Acantholysis is the common sign of Pemphigus. In this condition, the skin cells break and separate down since tissue bound antibody bonds in space between cells.  There are four kinds of Pemphigus that dogs get easily affected. They are Pemphigus vegetans, Pemphigus vulgaris, Pemphigus erythematosus and Pemphigus foliaceus.


In Pemphigus foliaceus, the antibodies bonds with the top most layer of the epidermis. You can see blisters on the healthy skin of dogs.  Pemphigus erythematosus is a commonly seen autoimmune disease in majority of dogs. It is almost equal to Pemphigus foliaceus. However, it is less afflictive.


Pemphigus Vulgaris causes severe and deeper ulcers. It is because the antibody deposits deep inside the skin. One of the rarest condition is Pemphigus vegetans. It affects only the dogs. It remains gentle than Pemphigus Vulgaris. It causes mild ulcers to the dogs.


Types and symptoms

Pemphigus Foliaceus

  • There are chances for secondary bacterial infection due to ulcerated or cracked skin.
  • Itchy skin and variable pain
  • Generalized swelling, swollen lymph, lameness, fever and depression.
  • Lips and gums may be affected
  • The footpads, ears and head are commonly affected.  It slowly spreads throughout the body.
  • Footpad cracking and growth
  • Shallow ulcers, pustules, crust, scales, itching and redness of the skin.


Pemphigus Erythematosus

  • One of the most common symptoms is change of color in lips. It will be seen clearly than any other Pemphigus forms.
  • Lesions are seen mostly on the footpads, face and head.
  • Most symptoms remain same as Pemphigus Foliaceus.

Pemphigus Vulgaris

  • It is the most serious condition of Pemphigus types
  • Fever
  • Depression
  • It is common to see various secondary bacterial infections
  • Pain and itchy skin
  • The groin and underarm areas are mostly involved
  • Affects skin, lips and gums. It may become generalized throughout the body
  • Both deep and shallow ulcers, crusted skin, blisters
  • If the dog has mouth ulcers, anorexia will occur
  • It is severe than Pemphigus erythematosus and foliaceus


Pemphigus vegetans

  • Mouth does not get affected
  • Certain symptoms of illnesses like depression, fever, etc.
  • Pustule groups combine to create larger covers of oozing lesions


What are the causes of Pemphigus autoimmune disease in dogs?

  • It occurs to certain breeds as a results of hereditary predisposition
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • Autoantibodies; though the dogs are pathogenic, the antibodies react to the cells and healthy tissue of the dog’s system