Horse Journal OnCall: What Do You Recommend for White Line Disease?

This fungi are opportunists, searching for a weak immune system.

My horse has been battling white line disease for almost a year with resections and CleanTrax.  We’ve now moved to a copper sulfate solution. My question is whether you’ve ever evaluated any of the “white line” products, like SBS Sav a Hoof, which says it will soak into the hoof from the cornet band? I understand the big thing is air and light exposure; I’m more wondering about for prevention once we get the hoof grown out again as last time it was nearly grown out and then flared up again.

Credit: Steve Kraus, CJF White line disease fungi typically eat the hoof from the bottom up.

Contributing Farrier Steve Kraus,CJF, Head Of Farrier Service, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, responds:

White line disease (WLD) is a fungal infection of the internal layers of the hoof wall. Typically, WLD starts at the bottom of the hoof and works its way upward, similar to the way termites eat their way up a board on the barn. Resection debridement must be aggressive along with soaking. 

I like White Lightning for soaking, which is chlorine dioxide in solution. You can apply it directly to the resected area as well as make a soak of 1 part white vinegar, 5 parts White Lightning, 10 parts water, I use used IV bags that can be taped closed around the fetlock with about 6 oz. of solution. The vinegar activates the chlorine dioxide to make a gas in the bag. Soak for 20 minutes.

I usually use a heart-bar shoe for frog support when a resection is done. This stabilizes the hoof wall. The fungi that cause WLD are all around us, and they are opportunists, looking for a weak immune system. You may want your veterinarian to check your horse for that.

Also, I would use lime in your stall. If your horse is not stalled, keep him out of wet conditions. Application of Thrush Buster or Durasole twice a week to the bottom of the foot will also help.

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