Equine dermatological cases can be investigated and managed using a logical diagnostic approach. In the first instance, a carefully taken history, together with a physical and dermatological inspection, form the backbone of investigations. Once an initial history has been taken, the clinician can allocate a skin case to one of seven different groups of clinical presentation: pruritus, alopecia, nodules, crusting and scaling, pigmentary abnormalities, ulcerations and erosions, or pedal or pastern dermatitis. This in turn allows the clinician to formulate a list of differential diagnoses based on the presenting signs and to undertake specific diagnostic tests. This article describes in detail these initial techniques and advises which should be employed for each clinical presentation, together with more advanced investigations where necessary.
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