A pregnant quarterhorse mare became acutely lame as a result of severe swelling of its right hind leg, thought to have been caused by a fracture or a muscle tear. Diagnostic procedures ruled out a traumatic musculoskeletal cause and a physical examination revealed chronic pastern dermatitis (‘scratches’/‘grease heel’). Histopathological evaluation of biopsy samples from the right hind leg was consistent with a leucocytoclastic vasculitis, and culture yielded Staphylococcus intermedius. The treatment and infectious causes of pastern dermatitis are discussed.
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↵Dr Cooley’s present address is North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Rollins Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, Veterinary Division, PO Box 12223, Raleigh, NC 27605, USA