Iowa State University Veterinarian

Document Type



The name Pemphigus, derived 'from the Greek word for blister, describes a group of vesiculobullous diseases of the skin of dogs, cats, and humans. The pemphigus complex is an autoimmune disease of the skin characterized by lesions ranging from vesiculobullous/pustular to erosive/ ulcerative. Lesions of pemphigus are due to the binding of autoantibody to an antigen in the epidermal cell membrane or the glycocalyx causing a release of an enzyme(s) resulting in disruption of intercellular attachments and acantholysis. Pemphigus produces lesions that are restricted to the epidermis. More specifically, these lesions are suprabasilar, each variant being characterized by location within the epidermal layer and by location of lesions on the body.