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Stop the invasion of white line disease

White line disease is a bacterial and fungal infection that occurs between the hoof wall and the rest of the hoof.

The infection causes a subsequent loss of attachment even when hooves appear healthy on the surface.

The separation that this infection creates can become painful and result in structural damage to the hoof to the extent that your horse may have to be laid up during the time it takes to eradicate the infection and allow the hoof to re-grow. Your farrier may recognize its occurrence before significant damage has occurred.

How does it happen?

White line disease can invade the foot anytime there is a separation between the hoof wall and the sole of the foot. There can be several factors coming together at the same time that produce the environment necessary for this infection to set in:

  • Disruption or tearing of the hoof wall away from the sole can occur from added pressure on the hoof wall. Examples include the long toe, low heel hoof conformation which causes added pressure at the toe during break-over.

  • The wall of the toe is continually pulled away from the sole with each step the horse takes. This causes leverage on the wall of the toe during break-over … very much like your fingernail being pulled away from the skin bed.

  • Similar trauma can happen from a club foot conformation, increased toe length, excessive moisture, previous or current abscess formation and poor nutrition.

  • All of these can set the scene for bacteria and or fungus to invade the tissues of the hoof.

How is it diagnosed?

Your farrier may recognize the disease before sufficient damage or lameness has occurred. White or grayish chalky matter may be found at the hoof wall/sole junction.


Other signs may include:

  • Tenderness on hoof tester evaluation

  • A hollow sound may be emitted when the hoof wall is tapped

  • The hoof may be warm to the touch

  • Untreated, the disease may progress to lameness and coffin bone rotation.

How is it treated?
  1. The most important things to recognize are the inciting factors that may have caused the disease. These factors have to be addressed and corrected, or the problems are likely to occur.

  2. Have your farrier address issues with long toe/low heel, excessive toe length, focal area’s of pressure, etc.

  3. You will need to address excessive moisture, poor footing, soil quality and stabling cleanliness.

  4. The farrier will remove any areas of undermined wall if necessary. This will expose the tissues to air (preventing further multiplication of anaerobic bacteria/fungus), as well as allow for drying.

  5. Treat the infected area with daily application of Veterinary Preference White Line Solution to provide a first line attack on the organisms causing this disease. This will also prevent further wall/sole separation.

  6. Your farrier will explore the tracts at each visit (2–4 weeks) and remove any debris that accumulates as well as giving you a progress report.

  7. Maintain proper shoeing schedules to prevent any further damage to the hoof wall and underlying structures.

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