White Line Disease

Hoof Infections Like White Line Disease Can Cause Lameness

Horse Hoof

White Line Disease (WLD) is a hoof infection that is also often referred to as seedy toe, hoof rot or hoof wall thrush. The infections affects the hoof wall, mainly the inner unpigmented wall.

The white line is only involved in severe cases which makes the term WLD misleading.

The infection is caused by fungi and bacteria. These feed on the keratin of the hoof wall and destroy the inner wall. In severe cases the infection will go up as far as the coronary band.

The white line is the junction between hoof wall and sole. In a healthy foot it prevents the invasion of microorganisms and foreign bodies into the foot.

In an unhealthy foot with improper foot function the white line is stressed and loosens its function as a barrier. That makes it easy for harmful organisms to infiltrate the foot.

Scientists seem to have found evidence that the bacteria and fungi involved live in a symbiontic relationship benefiting from each other.

Contributing factors:

  • Trauma from bruising or abscessing
  • Laminitis
  • Irregular trimming cycles and neglect
  • Too much moisture
  • Standing in manure and urine for longer periods
  • Flexor deformities and and imbalanced feet that cause bruising of the white line at the toe


  • Soak the foot in Cleantrax (opens new window), a non-necroitizing hoof cleanser. In most cases one treatment will be enough.
  • Balance the foot
  • A resection of the hoof wall is hardly ever needed and probably done far too often.


  • Keep the foot balanced
  • Keep the environment clean and dry
  • Balanced Nutrition (Ca:P ratio, Vitamin A, Selenium toxicity or deficiency)

Reference: KC La Pierre: The Chosen Road. Naked Greyhound Press 2004

Return from White Line Disease back to Hoof Problems
Return to Holistic Hoof and Horsecare