White Line Disease is caused by spore-forming bacteria. To date, twenty-two different types of fungal spores have been identified. The condition occurs when pathogens invade a weak or compromised hoof wall where they deteriorate the non-pigment portions of the horn wall.
Radiographs confirm a diagnosis of white line disease by capturing the presence of gas trapped in the hoof wall. Treatment includes removal of the diseased hoof wall, allowing oxygen to reach and kill the bacteria.
The disease is often associated with laminitis.
It is a common misconception that applying hoof dressing to the outer hoof wall adds moisture. The hollow fibers that make up the hoof wall are naturally filled with moisture and an adequate amount of moisture is reliant on a healthy blood supply to the hoof.
Yes, fall pasture grass can cause laminitis. As the air gets cooler and the leaves begin to change, so does your pasture grass. The sugars in grasses rise as new growth explodes with cooler temperatures and fall rains, increasing the risk of laminitic episodes. If a horse looks foot sore contact your veterinarian and start soaking their feet in ice water as soon as symptoms appear.
Take extra care when fall grazing horses who suffer from metabolic disorders. Their bodies do not metabolize sugar properly and are at a higher risk of pasture-induced laminitis.
Steroid induced laminitis can happen in rare cases. When evaluating risk, corticosteroids are comparable to other anti-inflammatories and the benefits out weigh the risks. For healthy adult horses the risk of steroid induced laminits is very, very low.
Horses with certain medical conditions, while the risk is still very low, are more likely to experience a laminitic episode. Those condition include, but are not limited to, horses that are overweight, are insulin resistant, who suffer from Cushing’s disease, or those who have had a recent occurrence of laminitis.
Hoof abscesses can be caused by a lack of blood flow to the corium, or the introduction of bacteria and moisture to the hoof. A lack of blood flow, due to pressures on the corium, will cause tissue in the hoof to die. When blood flow returns to this area an abscess will appear. The pus from the abscess will then expel the dead tissue from the hoof.
While the cause of your horse’s abscess may never be pinpointed, the most common cause is the introduction of a foreign object. Sand, a tiny rock, or even soil will embed itself in to the soft white line area of the horses hoof and then bacteria will make its way to the lamina under the hoof wall causing the abscess. This bacterium finds its way into the hoof by way of cracks, hoof defects, hoof separation, and introduction of foreign objects to name a few.
Some horses will experience an abscess shortly after a shoeing. This is usually because a nail was driven in too close to the white line where the bacteria will attach itself and cause an abscess.