Three horses developed severe pulmonary infections while being treated with systemic corticosteroids for other diseases. Two of them had an immune-mediated skin disease, compatible with a diagnosis of pemphigus foliaceus, and one had severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Case 1 developed diffuse pneumonia from which Streptococcus zooepidemicus and Bacteroides melaninogenicus were isolated, and it responded to antibiotic therapy. Case 2 developed septicaemia, pulmonary thrombosis and pneumonia associated with Escherichia coli, and died during a peracute illness with signs of disseminated intravascular coagulation. Case 3 developed focal pneumonia from which S zooepidemicus was isolated. This horse was destroyed at the owner's request and no treatment was attempted.