area of the hoof. This disease might show up in
only one foot or up tot all four. It always begins with a separation that occurs
between the wall of the hoof and the sole. It might happen in either the toe
area, the quarter of the foot, or the heel. The process itself will actually
remove the part of the hoof that is meant to protect it, and this will open the
door to bacteria and fungus. These bacteria and fungus that will enter the hoof
of the animal are those that are found every day, in every environment. Once the
white line has been breeched, these pathogens will enter and destruct and
deteriorate the inner wall of the hoof.
Even though the causes might not be completely known, there are several
things that might contribute to this separation of the hoof wall and sole
junction. These include moisture that is excessive, feet that are unbalanced,
trimmings that are improper, a hoof angle that is acute, deformities in the
flexure, lick contracted tendons, as well as club food, concurrent hoof
problems, infections that are chronic, and also a trauma that is direct and
White Line Disease might also occur in a secondary fashion, along with
chronic laminitis. It doesnít pose a threat to the soundness or health of the
animal until the damage is already done. After everything has happened, this is
when the horse will appear to be lame.
There are some early warning signs with this disease that you can look for.
These include tenderness in the sole when hoof testing is done. Also, there
might be things such as an occasional heat in the hoof, a flattening of the
sole, or the forming of a dish alongside one side of the hoof. You might also
see a bulge on the opposite side of the area that has been affected, growth of
the hoof wall that is slowed, consistency of the hoof wall that is poor, or a
hollow sound if you tap the outer wall of the hoof.
If you want to catch the disease in the early stages, the only thing to do is
have your horse observed by a farrier. Most of the time, this disease will go
unnoticed until the horse is actually being uncomfortable and showing this
discomfort. At this point, you can see the affected area by an examination of
the food, and you can also see how far the disease has progressed by using an
There are a few ways to treat White Line Disease once you have discovered it.
The most common way is to direct the treatment at the affected area. You will
support the foot with shoeing if the wall has been damaged. No matter how much
the wall of the foot has been damaged, you have to treat the affected area by a
removal of the outer hoof wall so that the diseased area can be exposed and the
damaged tissue can be removed. You will debride the exposed area at least once
every two weeks until you can detect a solid junction that occurs between the
hoof wall as well as the lamina. When this happens, the area can be left on its
own, and it will grow out. If it does not, it can be repaired most times using
an acrylic substance.
There are also medications that can be used. These include merthiolate,
betadine ointment, or even two percent iodine. You can apply these medications
to the area. These mediations will have a drying affect. You should apply them
to the area and pack it with gauze. A good tip is to hold the gauze tightly with
Yet another treatment method would include taking sheet metal and cutting and
molding it to fit over the ruined part of the hoof wall, and attaching it with
screws. This will keep the area clean and let you change the packing at regular
Keep in mind that you will need to base your choice of type of shoe on the
needs of the horse, based on the exact extent of the damage done to the hoof
wall. With a small defect, the horse can be shod normally. However, if the
defect has been large, you will need a full-support shoe. Remember that whatever
shoe is used, there must be allowance for the treatment of the affected area to
be done while also providing support to the horse.
Remember also that depending on how much damage has been done, the time of
recovery is going to differ. It must be treated, and the affected area must be
allowed to grow out.
Discuss your options as well as what the problem is with your farrier, and
have him examine each foot as it is being shod. The key is to find and treat
this early, so that the health of the foot of the horse can be maintained.