PF Before treatment
Pemphigus Foliaceus before treatment
What is Pemphigus Foliaceus?
The immune system is the body’s defense against infection, keeping the body healthy. An autoimmune disease is the immune system attacking the body. Pemphigus foliaceus (PF) is a type of autoimmune disease of the skin. Other skin diseases besides PF also have the word “pemphigus” in their name, but are different from PF.
What Species or Breeds get Pemphigus Foliaceus?
Although an uncommon skin disease in dogs and cats, any breed of dog or cat can develop PF. PF also occurs in other animals, such as horses and goats, and in people.
What are the Signs of Pemphigus Foliaceus?
In dogs and cats, PF causes pustules and crusts. Pustules are skin bumps filled with pus. When pustules break open, they leave behind scabs, crusts, and sores. PF skin signs commonly occur on the face, head, and ears but can also occur on the back and paws. Cats with PF may get pus around the claws. Dogs and cats with PF can develop a fever and become lethargic. Pustules and sores on the paws can be painful, causing your pet to limp. Itching caused by scabs and crusts or from a skin infection can also occur.
How is Pemphigus Foliaceus Diagnosed
Because there are other skin diseases that cause the same signs as PF, your pet’s veterinarian will need to take skin samples to diagnose PF. Examples of the tests your pet’s veterinarian may do include:
- Skin Cytology: Samples of skin cells and debris are collected and placed on a glass slide for examination under the microscope. This test looks for bacteria and yeast organisms and determines what types of cells are in the skin.
- Skin Biopsy: A biopsy involves removing a small piece of skin through a minor skin surgery. A veterinary pathologist then evaluates the biopsy to diagnose the skin disease.
How is Pemphigus Foliaceus Treated?
Your pet’s veterinarian will prescribe medications to make your pet more comfortable and reduce the PF skin signs. Treatment might include corticosteroids and other medications to keep the immune system from attacking the skin. Blood and skin samples will also help your veterinarian adjust your pet’s medications.
How Long Does My Pet Need to be Treated for Pemphigus Foliaceus?
Every pet with PF responds differently to treatments. Although some pets with PF can eventually stop medications, most pets need to stay on medications to prevent new crusts and pustules. Your pet’s veterinarian will be able to adjust the medications based on recheck examinations.