Seedy toe - White Line Disease - How do I Recognise it?
White line disease in horses has been called the hidden enemy. It is an insidious condition that can have been establishing itself over a period of months, even years, before the detrimental effects begin to show in the horse’s hooves.
White line disease is also referred to as seedy toe, a descriptive term for the state of the affected hoof tissue - a dry, crumbly texture; and the spot on the hoof wall at which white line disease often begins.
Observation of the Horse by Farrier and Owner
Hoof care in seedy toe and white line disease - as in laminitis and quarter cracks - is aided by rapid action. Recognise the condition and treat it correctly.
A black discoloration of the white line area at the toe may be spotted. For those who have not encountered seedy toe or white line disease in horses before, it may be the farrier or vet who first notes this.
The condition of the horse’s hoof may deteriorate, becoming brittle and dry. The area of the hoof wall that holds the horse shoe nails often seems to be breaking away. This is nothing to do with bad shoeing, or a lack of hoof care, and a farrier should spot these warning signs early on.
It is also the farrier or hoof care professional who is likely to spot a hidden ’gallery’.
This is a hollow area inside the hoof wall, often quite high up towards the coronet. It is the result of the damage that has been done as hoof tissue is being eaten away from within. From the outside the hoof looks normal, but it could be compared to an oak door that is being ravaged by termites.
And don't forget ..You, as owner, know your horse. You recognise when he’s ’just not himself’, when he is ’not happy in his going’. Don’t ignore your own instinct here.