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I have a 2.5 year old pure Australian Shepherd who has been mostly healthy his whole life. The past couple months, he has started to develop rawness around his eyes, on his nose and redness around his lips. I took him to the vet for the 4th time and she still thinks it is pemphigus - the autoimmune disorder. The only surefire way is to do an in-depth test analysis, she recommends at the university with a board-certified dermatologist to be 100% certain (which is pricey too).

Reading about pemphigus is a little scary. Life-long medication? Possible shortness of life and pain? Ongoing vet visits and lab work? No cure, only management of the symptoms? It sounds very expensive. I love my dog and hate to see him have something like this. I'm pretty sure I'm willing to do whatever to make it easier for him if he has this, but I was wondering if anyone has gone/is going through this with theirs and if they'd like to share the experience and costs associated with the disease (including medication costs for his life).

Thanks so much.
 

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Sorry for the long post.

My 12-year-old Keeshond was diagnosed with pemphigus after a couple of years of trying various skin creams and such. The diagnosis involved several biopsies, testing and then a consultation between my vet and a veterinary dermatologist. (Not cheap.)

She was then put on prednisone, which is supposed to help the majority of dogs. The Rx was only $22 at Walgreens. After being on it for four months with very little improvement, she started developing problems--constant panting, pacing, anxiety, trouble sleeping. That's when I discovered that she shouldn't have been on Prednisone for that long without vet checks and blood work. My vet had left after issuing the prescription and the other vets didn't do any follow-up, just kept renewing the Rx.

New vet. My dog was seriously overdosed on the Prednisone and was in liver failure. Lots of blood work, new meds, meds to help support the liver. My dog's quality of life by that point was zero and I was approaching $3000 worth of vet expenses with no actual resolution in sight. When the vet suggested yet another medication, with weekly blood work (medication was $150, blood work $200 a week) I just couldn't go on.

If she had been getting better, I probably would have tried to work something out. But she was totally miserable and even the vet couldn't assure me that she would get better. She was put down this last May.

If I had it all to do over again, I don't think I would have put her through all that. When I was researching pemphigus at the beginning, I saw an article that said that the majority of the death rate was from the owner's decision--so I wonder if my experience wasn't that unusual after all.
 

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Thanks Carly.
It seems like a terrible disorder, and thanks for sharing the info on your pup. I will send pictures to the vet to forward to the dermatologist. It seems that it's mostly cleared up now, so I don't know what to think, but it has been ongoing for months, so I'm hoping that it's not pemphigus, even though the vet thinks it is..
 
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