WHITE LINE DISEASE WOES

EQUUS - - Eq Handson -

White op­por­tunis­tic line disease or­gan­isms is in­sid­i­ous. in­vade Caused the lower when edge of the hoof wall, the con­di­tion may at first ap­pear as lit­tle more than a widen­ing of the white line, maybe with a slight pow­dery dis­charge at the edge of the sole. But even as the outer hoof con­tin­ues to look per­fectly nor­mal, the in­fec­tion can spread un­derneath, dam­ag­ing the ker­atin that forms the struc­ture of the hoof wall. “A per­fectly nor­mal look­ing foot can have white line disease---it can sneak up on you,” says Michael Ste­ward, DVM, of Shawnee An­i­mal Hospi­tal in Shawnee, Ok­la­homa. Left unchecked, the in­fec­tion can weaken a hoof’s lam­i­nae so much that sec­tions of the hoof wall be­come un­sta­ble and per­ma­nent dam­age oc­curs that can lead to chronic lame­ness. It was once thought that white line disease re­sulted from ne­glect or poor hy­giene, but it’s now rec­og­nized that, un­der the right cir­cum­stances, prac­ti­cally any horse can de­velop the con­di­tion. None­the­less, you can re­duce your horse’s risk of de­vel­op­ing white line disease, mainly by mak­ing sure he re­ceives reg­u­lar far­ri­ery care and keep­ing his feet as clean and dry as pos­si­ble. These mea­sures, plus prompt treat­ment should any signs of in­fec­tion ap­pear, can help pro­tect your horse from the worst con­se­quences of the con­di­tion.

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