Pemphigus in Dogs
Pemphigus is the general designation for a group of autoimmune skin diseases involving ulceration and crusting of the skin, as well as the formation of fluid-filled sacs and cysts (vesicles), and pus filled lesions (pustules). Some types of pemphigus can also affect the skin tissue of the gums. An autoimmune disease is characterized by the presence of autoantibodies that are produced by the system, but which act against the body’s healthy cells and tissues — just as white blood cells act against infection. In effect, the body is attacking itself. The severity of the disease depends on how deeply the autoantibody deposits into the skin layers. The hallmark sign of pemphigus is a condition called acantholysis, where the skin cells separate and break down because of tissue-bound antibody deposits in the space between cells.
There are four types of pemphigus that affect dogs: pemphigus foliaceus, pemphigus erythematosus, pemphigus vulgaris, and pemphigus vegetans.
In the disease pemphigus foliaceus, the autoantibodies are deposited in the outermost layers of the epidermis, and blisters form on otherwise healthy skin. Pemphigus erythematosus is fairly common, and is a lot like pemphigus foliaceus, but less afflictive. Pemphigus vulgaris, on the other hand, has deeper, and more severe, ulcers because the autoantibody is deposited deep in the skin. Pemphigus vegetans, which affects only dogs, is the rarest form of pemphigus, and seems to be a gentler version of pemphigus vulgaris, with somewhat milder ulcers.
full article can be found here: http://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/skin/c_dg_pemphigus?page=show#.UQbd3R3WLXA