Treating White Line Disease with FormaHoof

Treating White Line Disease With FormaHoof

Aletia Reilingh

Aletia Reilingh is Canadian by birth, a farrier by choice and a passionate dressage rider. 

 

Having made the move to Europe in 2014, Aletia became a state certified farrier in Germany and settled in Borken/NRW, servicing several areas in the Northwest of Germany and parts of the Netherlands. 

 

Aletia became one of the first FormaHoof Certified Applicators in early 2020 and is part of FormaHoof’s Expert Team, providing consultation services across the world. 

Malva’s White Line Disease Treatment

Malva is a 17 year old draught mare. She was presented to Aletia for treatment following a laminitis episode and subsequent severe white line disease in late September 2020.

 

After a hoof wall resection, FormaHoof was applied for a number of cycles over a short period of time. Her hooves were treated with copper sulphate and antibacterial spray before FormaHoof was applied, to ensure the cleanliness of the resected areas.

 

Malva’s comfort level increased instantaneously when FormaHoof was applied. She could be turned out during recovery and remained sound throughout, with a successful and sound transition to barefoot in January 2021. 

Malva's hoof rehab pictures:

Malva at the first farrier visit/ pre hoof wall resection

Malva 18th September 2020 pre FormaHoof

FormaHoof Application over the resected hooves

Malva in January 2020 transiting successfully to barefoot

Aletia Reilingh comments:

“Malva’s feet were a disaster. Massive hoof cracks had developed right in the middle of her hooves and she was quite lame. We immediately recommended x-rays and worked together with a veterinarian to make a plan. Firstly the enormous hoof cracks needed to be resected and cleaned. 

 

FormaHoof provided structural support and a clean environment for the hoof to grow back healthy. She was immediately sound following the application and her hooves were able to grow back strong, healthy and infection free. After 3 applications Malva returned to barefoot and is now sound, comfortable and able to live her best life.”

 

White Line Disease - Short Facts

What is white line disease?

White line disease in horses is also known as seedy toe, hoof-wall disease, hollow wall, Candida, or onychomycosis. Characterised by invading or opportunistic bacteria or fungi which destroy hoof-wall tissue, white line disease can, if left untreated, affect the entire inner hoof wall, resulting in lameness, hoof wall separation and loss of stability of the entire hoof.
A healthy hoof acts as a barrier against invasion of these microorganisms, but in an unhealthy hoof cracks or fissures can allow the bacteria or fungi to enter and infection to set in.

Is white line disease the same as thrush?

No. Thrush is a bacterial or fungal infection of the frog and, in some cases, also of the heels. It is sometimes also referred to as stall rot. Thrush can happen all too easily in neglected hooves and is caused by inadequate hoof care, infrequent farrier visits, and damp, dirty ground or stall conditions. Thrush comes with a strong, rotten smell and tar-like efflux in the affected areas.

What is white line disease caused by?

Weakness in this area can be a result of mechanical stress (overgrown feet), a wet environment, cracks, chronic abscesses, or laminitis. The weakness leads to a breakdown of the white line, which allows dirt, debris, fungus and bacteria to invade the hoof and worsen the stress on the white line.

Is white line disease contagious?

No, white line disease is not contagious. It can appear on one foot, on two feet, or all four. Horse hoof diseases may affect some horses more than others.

How do you know if your horse has white line disease?

White Line Disease is characterised by a multitude of cracks or fissures in the hoof or hoof wall separation and is usually discovered by the farrier during routine hoof trimming or by a vet whilst undertaking a hoof examination.

 

Further signs of white line disease may be a powdery hoof wall or a hollow sound whilst tapping the outside of the hoof capsule. Most horses won’t show lameness in the early stages of the disease.

How do I treat white line disease?

If left untreated, white line disease can “eat” its way up the hoof wall, all the way to the coronary band. Progress can vary in the extent and depth of the infection and your farrier or vet will take the necessary measures accordingly. In most cases, a hoof-wall resection is needed, which means all three layers of the hoof wall and all infected material are removed.

 

Depending on the size of the resected area, the hoof may need support with a special type of shoe. In severe cases, the horse will need to take a break from training until the foot is more stable. The infected hoof needs to be kept as clean and dry as possible, to allow the foot to grow new, healthy hoof. A clean environment is key for the healing process, as the infection can recycle and even reappear in previously affected horses, even if the hoof walls have grown out strong.

New hoof - supporting healthy hoof growth with FormaHoof

FormaHoof provides instant, drug-free pain relief, stabilises resected areas, keeps medication in place, and allows the hoof to grow in a clean and controlled environment. With the support and encapsulation of the hoof, most horses can return to training in no time, as the application allows the horse to spread weight over the entire hoof and takes pressure off the wall.


The increased weight-bearing allows better blood flow to the entire foot, encouraging healthy hoof growth. FormaHoof gives owners, farriers, and vets peace of mind during white line disease treatment, with immense time savings and enhanced comfort for the horse.

 

Whilst traditional methods are time and care-intensive, FormaHoof applications allow contact hours to be reduced, for everyone involved in the treatment cycles.

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