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Horse Foot Infections White Line Disease, Seedy Toe

In this disease the white line disintegrates as the result of infection caused by bacteria, yeast, or fungus. The infection starts at ground level and works its way up the white line to the coronary band. The region commonly affected is the toe back to the quarter. The loss of horn creates a hollow space between the hoof wall and the sole that becomes mealy or "seedy." Eventually, a deep recess, filled with cheesy material and debris, develops between the sole and hoof wall. White line disease seldom occurs in barefoot horses on pasture. Like many other hoof conditions, it is a disease of domestic horse management. The typical horse with white line disease is given limited exercise, bedded in damp wood shavings, kept in a wet stall, and exposed to frequent wet-to-dry episodes such as daily wash-downs or walks in wet grass.

Treatment of White Line Disease

With advanced disease, special shoeing techniques are required. All predisposing conditions should be corrected.

Canker is a chronic infection of the horn tissue of the foot. It begins at the frog and progresses slowly to involve the sole and sometimes the wall. The disease is rare and is found almost exclusively in tropical climates. Canker develops in horses who stand in mud, or in bedding soaked with urine and feces, and who do not receive regular foot care. The cankerous horn tissue of the frog loosens readily, and when removed discloses a foul-smelling, bleeding corium covered with a curdled-white discharge.

Treatment of Canker
Treatment consists of moving the horse to a clean, dry stable, or preferable a dry rocky pasture. Remove the shoe and thoroughly clean the frog. Apply a drying agent and bandage the foot to prevent contamination. Consult your veterinarian for best treatment regimen. Because canker often involves the corium, treatment is generally prolonged.

Thrush is a painful infection involving the frog. It is characterized by a black discharge along with poor growth and degeneration of the horn. The disease can be caused by a number of bacteria, but Fusobacterium necrophorum seems to be the most common. Treat the foot as described for canker. The prognosis is good when the sensitive structures are not involved.

Thrush Thrush is very common. It happens when moisture and anaerobic bacteria get trapped in the hoof, with the results being a bacterial infection. The problem is that the bacteria is very common in soil. The bacteria eat away at the frog bone and if it is allowed to progress to the stage where it gets deep in the hoof, the result will be a lame horse. Keeping the hoof clean, proper shoeing, clean stalls, dry paddocks, good diet and proper exercise are all good preventative measures. Treatments include removing all of the infected tissue, antibiotics, packing and wrapping the hoof and special shoes. White Line Disease White line disease strikes during hot and humid weather. White line disease is the deterioration of the inside part of the hoof wall. It can hit one hoof or all four. It causes the loss of the protective part of the foot, leaving it open to bacterial and fungal infections. Treatment includes special shoes, removal of the outer wall to remove the damaged area and the use of medicines such as merthiolate or betadine ointment.