White Line Disease In Horses: Causes, Treatment, And Prevention

Contrary to its name, white line disease is a non-contagious infection. It starts as an infection around the hoof holes or the hoof’s white line.

The exact type of bacteria or fungus that causes white line disease is unknown. But it’s known that horses often get the bacteria from the soil.

The vet and farrier are often the first to notice if your horse has white line disease. Here are some obvious symptoms they look out for:

1. Slowed-down growth of the hoof’s wall

2. Signs of pain or discomfort displayed by your horse

3. A powdery substance on the wall of the hoof

4. Warmth in the horse’s foot

5. In severe cases, lameness

If you spot some of these symptoms, you should call your vet or farrier immediately. To delay treating this disease will only worsen the problem.

Horses can get white line disease even when they’re well taken care of. There are many possible causes, but all it takes is a damaged hoof for the harmful organisms to thrive.

Trauma or lack of nutrition can cause cracks, bruises, and unhealthy hooves. The organisms take advantage of every crack or hole to get into the hoof, which will then cause white line disease.


The severity of the hoof’s damage will determine the treatment needed.

If the white line disease isn’t too severe, it’s still possible to treat the hoof using a topical treatment. Sometimes it will only take a week before your horse becomes well again.

However, more serious cases might take a longer time to treat and heal. You may need to bring your horse to a specialist for treating white line disease.

The treatment for severe white line disease is time consuming. It may involve removing part of the hoof that’s infected and letting it grow back. This may take several months, depending on the damage.

While the hoof is growing back, it’s soaked every week in a solution to keep the bacteria from the hoof. Sometimes, special shoes are also worn during this period of recovery.


The best thing you can do for your horse to prevent white line disease is to practice proper hoof hygiene.

* Keep hooves clean and dry

* Use a non-drying hoof dressing for excessive moisture protection

* Trim hooves on a regular basis

* Pick the hooves daily

Besides basic hygiene, it’s also important to give your horse a properly balanced diet. Having proper nutrition can help strengthen the horse’s hoof walls and soles. Healthy hooves prevent white line disease from getting started.

Also, regular exercise improves blood circulation in the horse’s feet. This helps stimulate growth and healthy hooves. But excessive stress on the feet can give opposite results, so it’s best to not overdo it.