White line disease in horse hooves
White Line Disease (or White Line Disease) is an attack on the horse’s hooves, caused by a bacterium that cooperates with a fungus. WLD (as it is abbreviated) is more common than people think!
What is White Line Disease?
WLD is a disease in the hooves that affects the white line. It is caused by a bacterium and a fungus that live in symbiosis in and attack the white line. The white line is very important to the hoof! This is the connection between the hoof bone and the hoof wall. Without a healthy white line the hoof wall will crumble and eventually huge pieces of hoof wall will break off the hoof. In German, WLD is called Loose Wall Disease and that is a very clear name for this condition.
How does WLD arise?
WLD is caused by a fungus, along with a bacteria. These can be various fungi and bacteria, so the problem is not easy to solve. These fungi / bacteria like moisture, heat and an oxygen-poor environment. So they are in the white line. WLD has nothing to do with a hygienic stable environment, WLD can also occur in clean stables or outside horses. One horse is more comprehensible to it than the other. In horses / ponies that are laminitis, you often also see WLD (because with laminitis the white line is affected and is wide open).
How do you discover WLD?
Unfortunately, not all blacksmiths see whether a horse has WLD. Often there is of course dirt or manure in a sole and it is difficult to see what the white line looks like. Clean the sole as much as possible with a brush and scraper. The white line has a different color white than the sole and should look like a whole in consistency, a kind of silicone sealant. If the white line is hairy (like the bottom of a mushroom) and black and smelly, you can be sure that your horse has WLD. Even if pieces of the hoof wall break off regularly, without a clear cause, you can assume that your horse has WLD.
What can we do about WLD?
If you think your horse has WLD, talk to your farrier about the best approach. If the WLD is not yet at an advanced stage, it is often sufficient to remove the affected area as far as possible with trimming and to treat the white line with something that has a drying effect (after all, the bacteria / fungus does not like oxygen and drought) . There are various means on the market that achieve this, consult with your blacksmith or veterinarian what you can best use. Once the bacteria / fungus has been killed with this product, it will grow out of the hoof and the WLD will decrease with each trimming.
If the WLD is already at a more advanced stage, your blacksmith will have to put your horse on irons because he will have to remove a considerable piece of hoof, namely the entire affected part, often this is the toe. The iron is then necessary to ensure that your horse can walk normally. After this, lubricate the exposed area regularly with the drying agent. After a while, the irons are removed and the horse trimmed, which in turn removes as much WLD as possible. Hopefully the WLD will be completely gone, otherwise the same procedure will have to take place again.
Is White Line Disease Dangerous?
Yes! If WLD is not detected and treated, the entire hoof wall can eventually disappear because the white line is eaten from the inside by the bacteria / fungus. Treatment by the owner and blacksmith is therefore necessary!