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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1987 Aug 15;191(4):460-4.

Cutaneous vasculitis in horses: 19 cases (1978-1985).

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  • 1Department of Clinical Studies, New Bolton Center, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, Kennett Square 19348.


The medical records of 19 horses with cutaneous vasculitis were reviewed. Most (73.7%) affected horses were between 3 and 10 years old, and there were significantly more mares (14) than stallions or geldings (5) (P less than 0.01). Subcutaneous edema of the limbs, body, and/or head was the predominant clinical sign (18/19 horses; 94.7%). The single most prevalent laboratory abnormality was neutrophilia (greater than 7,000 neutrophils/microliter), which was detected in 10 horses (52.6%). Leukocytoclastic vasculitis was evident in skin biopsy specimens from 12 of 14 horses (85.7%). All horses were treated with corticosteroids and supportive care, and the overall survival rate was 63.1% (12/19). The mean duration of treatment with corticosteroids in surviving horses was 14 (+/- 5.3) days. Of the 7 horses that died, 5 failed to respond to treatment (4 were euthanatized, 1 died), and 2 others had persistent debilitating sequelae (euthanatized). The only significant clinical or laboratory abnormality predictive of poor prognosis was fever (odds ratio, 17.81; P less than 0.05). Seven horses had history of, or were exposed to horses with, abscessed peripheral lymph nodes and likely were suffering from equine purpura hemorrhagica. In spite of histopathologic evidence of hypersensitivity-vasculitis and/or the clinical suspicion that the cause for vasculitis was immune mediated, 7 of 19 horses (36.8%) had no history of bacterial or viral infection nor a history of current drug administration.

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