This condition is common during wet weather conditions when excessive moisture softens the foot, allowing entry of dirt and debris into an area of hoof wall that has become separated at the wall/sole junction. This can lead to a secondary bacterial or fungal infection that may cause progression of the separation to varying heights and configurations toward the coronet.
Often the condition remains undetected until the horse starts showing discomfort due to build-up of pus or entrapment of small pieces of gravel within the area of wall separation. In severe cases, when the separation is very extensive, rotation of the pedal bone can occur (similar to laminitic cases) due to mechanical weakening of the hoof capsule.
Excessive toe length, poor hoof conformation, hoof imbalances and previous episodes of laminitis can predispose to the condition.
The therapy for White Line Disease is directed at treating the affected area of the foot and supporting the foot with therapeutic shoeing if hoof wall damage is extensive.
Removal of the outer hoof wall to expose the diseased area to the atmosphere is often necessary to control infection that can thrive in the absence of oxygen.
Lottie was not yet showing obvious lameness, but due to the extensive area of separation, treatment was undertaken to strengthen her foot and prevent future issues.
When Lottie`s foot was debrided, it became obvious that the affected area was more extensive than expected, and ended up involving the total circumference of the foot (Picture 2, 3).
The whole area was carefully cleaned and disinfected and the defect was filled with Imprint granules, a plastic material that becomes mouldable when heated up and has similar properties to the hoof wall when cooled down to room temperature. (Picture 4, 5, 6)
A glue on Imprint heart bar shoe was also fitted to give the foot support (Picture 7, 8).
The shoes were left on 5 weeks while Lottie continued her normal life (she lives out in a field). She was put on a Biotin supplement to improve her horn quality.
After 5 weeks, there had been plenty of growth and Lottie`s farrier was able to nail shoes on (Picture 9, 10).
After another 5 weeks, the wall defect had completely grown out and Lottie was able to go barefoot again (Picture 11, 12)!
The practice can provide clients with a customised hoof growth supplement on request. Please contact the surgery for more details.