White line disease, also known as seedy toe, is a condition that can affect horses of any age, breed, condition or sex.
It is caused when bacteria and/or fungus enters the hoof through a crack, puncture or hole. It then causes separation of the hoof wall as the infection eats away the hoof. This can result in lameness and the hoof becoming brittle, white and crumbly.
A farrier is typically the first to diagnosis white line disease during a trim. Treatment and continued management should be undertaken by a veterinarian working with an experienced farrier. It is important to treat white line disease as soon as possible as if it does spread up to the coronet band it can cause the coffin bone to rotate. Treatment involves cutting away as much of the affected hoof as possible and exposing the area to oxygen which will kill the bacteria or fungus responsible for the damage. The cutaway exposed area must be kept clean to avoid more bacteria or fungus getting into the hoof.
Completely curing white line disease usually takes up to a year as you will need to wait for new healthy hoof growth.
Originally published in My Pet Magazine Summer 2014-2015
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