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Welcome to the Equestrian Outreach White Line Disease Page

Equine Disease Illustration

White Line Disease Overview

Diagnosing horse ailments requires a vet. (Click here for a list of Florida Veterinarians by coun ty)

White Line Disease is a problem affecting the health of the horse's hoof. The condition becomes obvious in the horse's foot as the hoof wall delaminates. White Line Disease destroys the inner hoof wall. This causes a separation from the outer hoof wall (Laminae). The outer hoof wall will actually become brittle and the firm horn tissue of the hoof becomes crumbly and 'cottage-cheese-like', and deterioration begins to break away. This disease can be cured with the proper treatment, and treatment needs to take place immediately once the disease is recognized. White Line Disease is dangerous and can cause serious problems if left untreated it:

  1. Reduces the weight-support system of the hoof and hoof wall.
  2. Opens the foot of the horse up to further infection.

White Line Disease Transmission: There is much discussion as to what the causative agent or agents are in this disease here are. Originally the destructive agents were grouped together under the general term of 'anaerobic bacteria' or bacteria that thrive in conditions where there is no oxygen.
More recently, there has been increasing support for the possibility that the destructive agents are one or more types of fungus - working alone, or together with the bacteria.
Whether its bacteria or fungi, the horse owner - concerned about health and hoof care - still faces the same problem that the hooves that are being eaten away by a destructive agent.
White Line Disease Causes: The following factors can contribute to white line disease developing in horses.
Unavoidable risk factors:

  1. Excess damp and humidity - the horse's hoof is hygroscopic (absorbs moisture). A moist hoof expands more readily.
  2. Stress after laminitis.
  3. The presence of an injury in the hoof.

Avoidable risk factors:

  1. Long toes on the hoof - causing stress and the possibility of separation at the juncture of hoof wall and sole.
  2. An excessive use of inappropriate hoof care products applied to a hoof.
  3. Poor nutrition, resulting in poor health of the hoof.
  4. Lack of cleanliness.

White Line Disease – Prevention: