White Line Disease

Although they are complex structures designed to be the foundation that holds your horse?s weight, his hooves are remarkably vulnerable.? White Line Disease occurs when the inner layer of the hoof wall begins to deteriorate.? This non-pigmented layer, called the white line, protects the inside of the hoof from damaging pathogens and bacteria.? When it has been compromised, deterioration of the hoof wall can eventually result in extensive damage of the laminae and rotation of the coffin bone.

White Line Disease is often hard to spot until the horse comes up lame and the damage has already been done.? The first sign of the disease is a white powdery substance that forms along the junction of the hoof wall and the sole.? It can occur in all four feet and is not isolated to any particular breed.? The horse may be tender on his feet, and the use of hoof testers can sometimes lead to early detection.? As the disease develops, the horse may wind up with flat soles, a dish on one side of the hoof with an accompanying bulge on the other side, and slow hoof growth.? Additionally, when the hoof is tapped with a hammer, a hollow sound will be heard.

Veterinarians and farriers are still unsure of the cause of the disease, but it seems to be more prevalent in hot, humid climates.? Also associated with White Line Disease are poor trimming, frequent abscesses, contracted tendons, clubfoot, or punctures to the hoof.? Horses with chronic laminitis may also be susceptible to the disease.

Treatment involves therapeutic shoeing combined with a resection-removal of the affected area.? Depending on the severity of the case, the resectioned area may need to be packed with dressing and covered with duct tape.

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