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Pemphigus in a Cat

Max was presented with a chronic skin problem that responded to cortisone but kept relapsing. He has multiple scabs and sores over the majority of his body. His toes were caked with a cheese like discharge around the nail beds. He would chew his feet continuously, even to the point of chewing one toe off.

The cortisone was having some side effects, notably weight loss, hair loss along his abdomen and a pot belly. His appetite was artificially elevated from the cortisone.

We had previously placed him on a antibiotics and a low allergy diet, Hill's Z/D for 12 weeks but there had been little improvement. Stains of his ears showed heavy infections with a yeast (Malassezia) which was treated with anti fungal ear ointments and shampoos (Malaseb). Skin scrapes failed to show any mites.

We biopsied several of the skin lesions and found he had a condition called Pemphigus where his immune system decides to attack the skin for some unknown reason.

We placed Max on a combination of low dose cortisone and anti-immune system drugs called Leukaran and Cyclosporine in combination. He receives regular anti fungal shampoos and at this stage there is some slight improvement.

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