Auto Immune Disease in Bulldogs and
French Bulldogs (Pemphigus Foliaceus)

Auto immune disease in bulldogs and French bulldogs can happen when your bulldog’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own normal healthy cells, failing to distinguish self from non-self. We are not sure why this error happens (i.e. idiopathic), possibly something changed the tissue cells’ own receptors, hence, the mis-identification and following hostility.

Your bulldog puppy’s immune system is critical to his/her health, and is composed of cells that patrol his/her body and defend, reject and fight foreign invaders like viruses and bacteria. Your bulldog and

Auto immune disease in bulldogs and french bulldogs (Pemphigus foliaceus) Kiki SCBR

Auto immune disease in bulldogs and French bulldogs (Pemphigus foliaceus). “Kiki” Saved by SCBR, getting treatment at Dr. Kraemer’s Vet 4 Healthy Pet Advanced Medical Care.pem

French bulldog puppy’s antibodies normally recognize their own cells, tissue and organs as “self” (friendly), thus, will not destroy them. Each cell carries a unique ID code called a “receptor “ (fingerprint if you may) that must perfectly match the patrolling immune cell’s receptor counterpart. Think of it as a key and a lock, if there is no match, the immune system will assume that those cells are foreign invaders, attack and destroy them.

Auto immune disease in bulldogs and French bulldogs can affect many body systems including the bowels, the central nervous system (CNS), joints, blood cells, and skin to name a few. Immune suppressant drugs are the traditional therapy for most immune mediated diseases and Pemphigus Foliaceus. Due to the potential side effects of those medications, doses should be tapered in response to clinical signs. In some cases, especially when adverse effects are present, I have replaced the traditional immune suppressant drugs with a new, cutting edge, regenerative technology named stem cell therapy.

Auto immune disease in bulldogs that affects the skin is called Pemphigus. Pemphigus Foliaceus affects the top layer of skin called the epidermis. The epidermis acts as a barrier defending against the harsh environment that surrounds your dog. There are other types of pemphigus that are more aggressive and more difficult to treat.

Auto immune disease in bulldogs and French bulldogs Maintenance:

Immuno-suppressant drugs are the traditional therapy for pemphigus foliaceus in bulldogs and other pets. Because of the potential side effects of those medications, doses should be tapered in response to clinical signs. In some cases, especially when adverse effects are present, I have replaced the traditional immune suppressant drugs with a new, cutting edge, regenerative technology named stem cell therapy. In addition to inflammatory conditions like arthritis and atopic itch allergic dermatitis, I have used those healing, anti-inflammatory stem cells and stem cell cryobanking to treat various auto immune diseases like Inflammatory Bowl Disease (IBD), Bulldog KCS, Polyarthritis and Degenerative myelopathy.

Auto immune disease in bulldogs and French bulldogs Rule of Thumb:

Auto immune disease in bulldogs and french bulldogs (cytology pemphigus )

Auto immune disease of the skin in bulldogs and French bulldogs (cytology pemphigus )

Pemphigus foliaceus in bulldogs should be confirmed by cytology and/or biopsies before initiating potentially harmful immune suppressant drugs.

Auto immune disease in bulldogs and French bulldogs Tips & Warnings:

Dr. Kraemer’s auto immune disease in bulldogs and French bulldogs Tip # 1: There is no specific blood test for the diagnosis of pemphigus foliaceus in bulldogs.

Dr. Kraemer’s auto immune disease in bulldogs and French bulldogs Tip # 2: Bulldogs dry eye, (KCS), is thought to be an auto immune disease. Bulldog IBD, Bulldog Polyarthritis, Degenerative Myelopathy and Bulldog Pemphigus are among a number of additional medical conditions believed to be immune mediated (auto immune) diseases.

Dr. Kraemer’s auto immune disease in bulldogs and French bulldogs Tip # 3: It’s important to rule out bulldog demodex skin mite.

Dr. Kraemer’s auto immune disease in bulldogs and French bulldogs Tip # 4: Pemphigus foliaceus in bulldogs can present as large, crusty, pus-filled lesions, often localized to the face and head, ears, nose, in some cases it also involve the paws, and at other times, it becomes generalized and affects the entire body.

Dr. Kraemer’s auto immune disease in bulldogs and French bulldogs Tip # 5: Bulldog allergic itch dermatitis usually starts with an itch. In contrast, the itch in pemphigus foliaceus often starts later, after the appearance of lesions.

Dr. Kraemer’s auto immune disease in bulldogs and French bulldogs Tip #6: Regular blood tests and urine analysis and cultures should be done on bulldogs treated with immune suppressant drugs for the treatment of auto immune diseases.

Dr. Kraemer’s auto immune disease in bulldogs and French bulldogs Tip #7: Although pemphigus foliaceus in bulldogs can also occur in people, it is not contagious.

Dr. Kraemer's V4B Liver Cleanser

Dr. Kraemer’s V4B Liver Cleanser for dogs on long term treatment of steroid (prednisone) and other liver diseases

Dr. Kraemer’s auto immune disease in bulldogs and French bulldogs Tip #8: Your bulldog’s liver might get affected by the immuno-suppressant steroid (prednisone) medication, the condition is called “steroid hepatopathy”. To help protect your pet’s liver, I usually recommend a supplement like Dr. Kraemer’s V4B Bulldog Liver Cleanser.


Dr. Kraemer’s auto immune disease in bulldogs and French bulldogs Tip #9: For itching, I usually recommend a waterless lotion like Dr. Kraemer’s V4B Bulldog Itch Relief Lotion. For bacteria and yeast, I usually recommend a waterless lotion like Dr. Kraemer’s V4B Bulldog Yeasty Bully Lotion.

Dr. Kraemer’s auto immune disease in bulldogs and French bulldogs Warning # 1: Genetic and environmental factors, as well as drug administration, are suspected to lead to the development of bulldog pemphigus foliaceus.

Dr. Kraemer’s auto immune disease in bulldogs and French bulldogs Warning # 2: A bulldog puppy with pemphigus foliaceus may develop secondary skin infections as a result of the rubbing and self trauma, thus, a bacterial culture and sensitivity test of the skin is recommended to help select an appropriate antibiotic therapy.

Dr. Kraemer’s auto immune disease in bulldogs and French bulldogs Warning # 3: Exposure to sun could bring on pemphigus foliaceus in bulldogs, thus, it can get worse in the summer time.

Dr. Kraemer’s auto immune disease in bulldogs and French bulldogs Warning # 4: Various drug interactions can flare up pemphigus foliaceus in bulldogs, thus, they should be stopped and  rechallepromeris and auto immune disease in bulldogsnged for confirmation. If your bulldog was on any drugs prior to the disease presentation, or seems to have gotten worse on one of them, make sure to disclose that to your veterinarian.

Dr. Kraemer’s auto immune disease in bulldogs and French bulldogs Warning # 5: ProMeris, a topical flea and tick preventive that was often used by bulldog owners to treat demodex red mange mites , has been implicated as the underlying cause in some cases of bulldog pemphigus. ProMeris has been shown to trigger pemphigus foliaceus-like skin lesions at the application site. In all of these cases, the earliest skin lesions were noticed between the shoulder blades, which is not a common site for typical, spontaneously arising, autoimmune pemphigus foliaceus. Moreover, in two-thirds of these dogs, skin lesions eventually became generalized and they developed systemic illness.

Dr. Kraemer’s auto immune disease in bulldogs and French bulldogs Warning # 6: Pemphigus foliaceus in bulldogs is typically a chronic skin condition, with a waxing and waning course. It can also come back after remission.

Dr. Kraemer’s auto immune disease in bulldogs and French bulldogs Warning # 7: Because of the potential side effects of the immune suppressant medications, doses should be tapered in response to clinical signs.auto immune disease in bulldogs

Ask Dr. K / Q & A Request an Appointment Email Us