by Tab Pigg
Hoof Wall Traps Bacteria
No matter the season, when wet conditions are present bacteria and fungus can get trapped in the horse’s hoof wall. Similar to a human’s toenails, once fungus and bacteria have set in, it’s very difficult to conquer.
This combination of pathogens in the hoof wall is a recipe for White Line Disease.
Looking at the bottom of a horse’s hoof, there is a white line that divides the outside of the hoof wall and the sole. This part of the hoof is also known as stratum internum, which is the innermost part of the hoof wall. It attaches the wall to the underlying soft tissue.
When bacteria and fungus get trapped within this area, the white line becomes wider as it separates, thus the name of this condition – White Line Disease. Depending on the severity, the horse can become lame because the infection causes the hoof wall to deteriorate.
When a hoof is already unhealthy or compromised in any way, it is more prone to infection. Once White Line Disease has set in, the hoof wall begins to disappear as the anaerobic bacteria, which thrives in conditions with little-to-no oxygen, eats away the lining.
Early vs. late detection
If a hoof is left untreated, the infection can become more severe as it moves up the hoof wall. Eventually, the attachment to the hoof wall is eaten away completely.
Depending on the severity of the hoof damage there are different ways to manage the condition.
If White Line Disease is caught early enough, it can be managed with different topical treatments and exposure to oxygen.
When the hoof wall is drastically eaten away, there are different shoeing and booting options. In very severe cases, re-sectioning of the hoof wall may be necessary. During this process, the hoof wall is carefully removed to expose the area to oxygen which will kill the bacteria. Similar to humans, in order for a new, healthy nail to grow in, the infected nail needs to be removed.
After a hoof wall is reset, the horse’s shoes cannot be nailed to hooves, but support is still needed.
Horse solar support and pad
Modern solar support and pad materials can assist with not only providing support but also sealing out moisture and debris during the healing process.
Vettec’s Super Fast can be applied to help provide more support as a “temporary shoe”.
Super Fast is:
A durable, fast and hard-setting, urethane formula that is ideal for creating custom shoes directly on the foot when nailing is not an option. The product also allows hoof care professionals to make small hoof repairs quickly and easily.
Equi-Pak CS bonds to the bottom of the horse’s foot, eliminating the possibility of further bacteria being trapped in the hoof wall.
Equi-Pak CS is:
A fast-setting soft instant pad material that is infused with copper sulfate. It provides extra protection and support, and also bonds to the sole. It is an effective product for managing White Line Disease.
A firm pad material that distributes a horse’s weight across the entire hoof-bottom to grow the heel, hoof wall and sole faster. This product also adheres to the sole, sealing out moisture and debris. Because the hoof wall is sensitive during re-growth, Equi-Build helps to take the pressure off hoof wall cracks.
Managing White Line Disease can be difficult if the condition is not caught in its early stages. Once diagnosed, your horse’s hoof care professional can help decide if solar support and pour-in pad products can aid in the treatment and support of your horse’s hoof wall.