White Line Disease in Horses

White line disease is a fungal/bacterial infection that typically affects the area between the layers of hooves of horses.

White Line Disease in Horses

You may have heard of white line disease if you own a horse. This condition can affect horses of any age and breed. While it is not usually fatal, it can cause severe lameness and other problems if left untreated. In this post, we’ll look at what white line disease in horses is, how it’s diagnosed, and what treatments are available.


What is white line disease in horses, and what are the symptoms?

White line disease is a fungal/bacterial infection that typically affects the area between the layers of hooves of horses. It is caused by a combination of the yeast, Fusarium, and the bacterium, Trichophyton, which feeds off keratin, the protein found in a horse’s hoof wall. The fungus infiltrates breaks in the hoof wall structures, where they grow and secrete enzymes that create cavities that can become quite deep. Signs of white line disease include lameness, uneven wear to shoes or pads, soreness, weak coffin bones, and draining tracts on both sides of the laminae. An infected area may cause severe discomfort to the affected horse and can be very painful if left untreated for an extended period.

Horse Hoof Thrush

Thrush in horses’ hooves

How is white line disease diagnosed and treated?

Farriers and caretakers are often the first to spot white line disease. While working on the hooves, a cavity or an area of flaky crumbling hoof will be seen, usually at the toe. This is why it is sometimes called seedy toe. This cavity forms because the pathogens that cause this disease eat their way up from the bottom, leaving a void in the hoof behind them. This void allows dirt, debris, and manure in, which festers and can cause an abscess. The hoof wall also becomes much weaker in the affected area, leading to a breakdown of the hoof itself. Treatment involves cutting the affected area away and using a product like Thrush Thrash to kill the infection.


What preventative measures can horse owners take to avoid white line disease in their animals?

White line disease can dramatically change the life of a horse. Fortunately, there are several preventative measures horse owners can take to reduce their animals’ risk of contracting this serious illness. First, use good farriery practices by ensuring the horse’s hooves are regularly trimmed. Regular trimming allows the bottom of the hoof to be inspected, and if there are any signs of trouble, that hoof can be cut away early enough so it doesn’t cause any problems. Secondly, check your horse’s hooves daily for any signs of weakness or changes that could lead to an infection developing. Using a Thrush Flush after cleaning the hoof will disinfect it and keep it healthy. Taking these preventative measures will help your horses live long, happy life.

In conclusion, white line disease is a severe issue that should not be taken lightly. The best thing horse owners can do be aware of the signs of this condition and take preventative measures such as inspecting hooves regularly and cleaning them thoroughly, and using a Thrush Flush to sanitize the sole and frog of the hoof. Unfortunately, infections are still possible even with preventative measures, so horse owners should check their animals’ hooves just as carefully post-treatment. Suppose you suspect your horse has white line disease or another hoof condition. In that case, it is always best to consult your farrier immediately to provide the best possible treatment and care for your animal. Although the recovery time and rehabilitation process may be lengthy, there are steps you can take to ensure the comfort of your animal throughout all stages of this challenging condition.