Feeds for White Line Disease or Seedy Toe in horses

Feeds for White Line Disease or Seedy Toe in horses

What is white line disease or seedy toe in horses

White line disease or seedy toes refers to infection of the white line, which is the connective tissue between the hoof wall and the soft lamellae.

What is the white line? The horses hoof is made up of the hard outer wall and the sole (which is the soft under surface of the hoof). The horse bears most of the weight on the wall. The fibrous join between the wall and the sole is called the white line. Hooves are prepared for shoeing, by trimming the hoof to the white line.

White Line Disease or Seedy Toe refers to conditions that affect the health of the hoof, leading to separation of the hoof from the sole. The external hoof wall may appear brittle and dry, and the white line takes on a cheese like appearance.

How do I know my horse has white line disease or seedy toe

  • Weak chipped and shelly hoof walls that cannot hold a shoe
  • Lameness
  • Hoof sounds hollow when tapped
  • The affected hoof could have a dished or a bulged form and the soles will be tender
  • The white line is soft and cheese like

Note - If the horse shows signs of lameness the infection has progressed to a very advanced stage

What causes white line disease or seedy toe in horses

There are many theories as to the cause of white line disease; however it seems that invasion of the white line by one or more fungi acting alone or in combination with bacteria may be the primary causal agents. These organisms infiltrate, feed upon and destroy the keratin tissue of the hoof wall. White line disease is most likely to occur in horses that have had hoof problems in the past such as trauma, cracked hooves and any previous infections. White line disease can also occur when horses are standing in muddy conditions. The fungi and bacteria responsible for white line disease will not attack a healthy hoof. Horses with laminitis or Cushing's disease are also prone to white line disease.

How diet helps white line disease or seedy toe in horses

Hoof health can be influenced by diet as can be seen through the effects of high NSC feeds on lameness and laminitis. Diets containing high levels sugar and starch (non structural carbohydrates or NSC) can disrupt insulin sensitivity in muscle and liver cells, predisposing the horse in to insulin resistance. High levels of NSC can also cause Dysbiosis, and carbohydrate overload, which in turn may cause destruction of the hoof lamellae and white line. High amounts of NSC (>12%) in the horses diet reduces the health of the laminae of the horses hoof which can lead to the separation of the hoof wall allowing for white line disease to occur