White Line Disease In Horses

White Line Disease in HorsesWhite line disease in horses occurs when the outer wall of the hoof separates from the laminae. This is the place where the foot joins to the hoof. The first sign is a thin white line, hence the name. The outer wall of the hoof becomes brittle and cracks. Cracks allow secondary opportunistic infections to take hold. Over time, a complete separation can occur and the bones in the horse’s feet can shift out of place. Since white line disease in horses affects the feet, it is also referred to as seedy toe. Left untreated, white line disease can lead to lameness, infection and other foot complications which could result in having to put the horse down. A combination of bacteria and fungi are suspected to cause white line disease in horses, however even horses in very clean stables contract the disease. Stress to the hoof after a bout of equine laminitis is another possible cause of this potentially debilitating disease.

Since horses spend all their time standing, horse hoof problems are of special concern. White line disease in horses becomes extremely painful. Farriers are the experts in treating hoof problems, so don’t wait to call on one. A two pronged approach is used to treat this disease. First, the hooves should be filed down to where there is no sign of disease. Your equine veterinarian will use radiographs to guide them. Second, a topical antiseptic like iodine is applied to the affected area. In order to prevent the development of this disease, you should make sure that the horse is kept in a clean, dry stable. If the horse sustains any foot injury, those who care for the horse should be vigilant for the development for any complications.