In a large-scale ageing study, 30 inbred mouse strains were systematically screened for histologic evidence of lesions in all organ systems. Ten strains were diagnosed with similar nail abnormalities. The highest frequency was noted in NON/ShiLtJ mice. Lesions identified fell into two main categories: acute to chronic penetration of the third phalangeal bone through the hyponychium with associated inflammation and bone remodelling or metaplasia of the nail matrix and nail bed associated with severe orthokeratotic hyperkeratosis replacing the nail plate. Penetration of the distal phalanx through the hyponychium appeared to be the initiating feature resulting in nail abnormalities. The accompanying acute to subacute inflammatory response was associated with osteolysis of the distal phalanx. Evaluation of young NON/ShiLtJ mice revealed that these lesions were not often found, or affected only one digit. The only other nail unit abnormality identified was sporadic subungual epidermoid inclusion cysts which closely resembled similar lesions in human patients. These abnormalities, being age-related developments, may have contributed to weight loss due to impacts upon feeding and should be a consideration for future research due to the potential to interact with other experimental factors in ageing studies using the affected strains of mice.