Helga Bulldog with Pemphigus Foliaceus

To my fellow bulldog owners,

My seven year old female bulldog (Helga) was diagnosed with Pemphigus Foliaceus about seven weeks ago.  She is currently receiving excellent treatment from Colorado State University.  Her treatment consists of Azathioprine 50 mg every other day, Niacinamide 500 mg twice a day, Doxycycline 100 mg twice a day, and Dexamethasone 4mg 1 & 1/2 tablets per day.  Her skin has slowly began to get better but now she is very lethargic and very weak.  Today she had her bimonthly vet visit and her liver counts were elevated and the vet. has decided to decrease her Azathioprine to every other day.  I am curious if anyone else out there has had any experience with this disease and could share their experience. 


Stephen (Denver, CO.)

RobinandLeo's picture

unfamiliar with this condition, but found this link

http://www.petplace.com/dogs/pemphigus-foliaceus-in-dogs/page1.aspx  This is a 5 page article on Pemphigus Foliaceus.

http://veterinarymedicine.dvm360.com/vetmed/Feline+Center/Canine-and-fel... Another article on the condition with photos and photos of microscopic slides.

I have a wonderful Veterinary Book published in 1997 (getting old and in need of replacement) that has a 2 page synopsis of the condition, diagnosis and treatment of the variations in known symptoms, the book's treatment protocols are similar to what your dog is receiving. Sounds like the Clinic you are going to has a handle on it. Here's wishing you good results.



Thank you for your response.  I found the first link to be very helpful.  I was not able to pull up anything with the second link you provided.  I received a 404 error page not found.  Would you be able to send me that link again?  I'm also still hopeful that someone may have had an experience with this disease and would share their experience.  Thanks again for the response and helpful information.



RobinandLeo's picture

do a google search on -

pemphigus foliaceus in dogs

It was the 3rd listing that came up and opened from that link.

jihigg's picture

How is your bully?

Our vet thinks our Rex may have pemphigus. we will know on Wednesday when the skin biopsy comes back. He spoke of the same treatment you mention in your comment. If you can give any insight at all we will be forever grateful. We do not want to let our baby suffer needlessly. Thank you so much and God bless.


Jllian and PorkChop and our beloved BullyAngel Rex <3

Patience is the key for Rex


I have learned an incredible amount about this disease and have also learned an incredible amount on caring for this disease.  I am happy to share all my knowledge with you in hopes it will help in treating Rex.  I believe the best advice I can give you is to be patient and don't give up.  This battle is not a short fight and I continue to fight against this disease every day but with much tribulation I have the disease in a place that is manageable for Helga and every day I'm still seeing improvement.  Treatments that did not work for Helga and which caused more harm than good were high doses of strong steroids.  Please be sure to not go down that path.  The medicatioin that has proven to be most effective in treating Helga is a combination of cyclosporine and mycophenolate.  Currently Helga takes 250mg of of Cyclosporine daily (125 in the morning & 125 at night) and 250 mg of Mycophenolate every other day.  She also takes 20 mg of Prednisone every other day.  I alter the days off of Mycophenolate and Prednisone with each other so she gets one or the other every day.  She also takes Niacinimed and doxycycline twice a day.  It took me a long time to get to this balance of drugs and there were countless other treatments that were attempted that were not successful.  This is a long and expensive journey Helga and I have chosen to take but as I see her continue to improve it makes it all worth while.  I will be happy to share additional details if you would like.  I'll send you my phone number in a private message and if you have further questions please don't hesitate to call me.  This is a stubborn disease but it can be overcome and I would encourage you to fight for Rex.

Your friends,

Stephen & Helga

How is Helga now?

My dog was recently diagnosed with this awful condition. We are seriously struggling with it and he is miserable. Have you gotten Helga under control? Any advice and recommendations would be great.

Thanks !

Patience is the key!

The best advice I can provide is to be patient and to see what works for your dog.  Helga today is doing very good.  My vet vistits are down to once every two months.  Her liver counts are well and through many months of trial and error I believe we have found the proper medications and dosages to manage the disease.  I am not confident that I will ever see a cure or see it go away but with her current medications we have Helga in a place that is manageable and I know she is happy.  I think the drug that works best for Helga is the cyclosporine which is very expensive but has also shown the best results.  I would be happy to share all of my experience with you and I would also like to let you know that although this disease is very devestating it is not something that can't be managed.  Helga was playing ball and tug of war today and I'm so very happy that I have fought this fight and I'll continue the fight until Helga tells me that I shouldn't.  She is truley a gift from god and I'm very thankful of all the lessons she has taught me.  My recommendation is to find a specialized vet that has some experience with the disease.  I would be happy to share Helga's current medication doses and prescriptions if you'd like.  Best of luck to you and your bully and know that it can better.  Last year in February I would have guessed that Helga wouldn't be around this time this year but today I would tell you that Helga has many good years left in her.  Best of luck to you and your bully and god bless.




Melissa-Corbin-Oliie's picture

Thank you!!

My boy was just diagnosed and felt I had just come to a crossroads on what I can do. Hes on day two of cyclosporine, now maybe i see he does have some hope for him! The same as your Helga, the vet is seeing some trouble with his liver counts and he is aswell on medication for that.