White Line Disease II

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Q: I live in the Willamette Valley in Oregon and my horse has just been diagnosed by the
farrier, with White Line disease. The farrier cut out parts of the hoof for airing but I am
confused as to how she caught the disease and how to treat it. The farrier said to treat it with iodine and occasional peroxide but the vet said no iodine and just peroxide. Of course I am very worried about my horse, I want to kill this stuff off as quick as possible. I went to a couple of feed stores in the area but no one has ever heard of the disease (which makes me even more nervous). What is the difference between White Line and hoof fungus, and why are there so many conflicting views on treating this? Do you have any suggestions? I should also add that my farrier doesn't seem too worried and said it was like "athletes foot" in humans and that when the weather dries up this shouldn't be any more problem but everything I've read sounds serious. Thank you!

A: I am very familiar with the Willamette Valley, as we are in the Umpqua Valley, just
South of you. You have listed yourself as a very worried and concerned horse owner, and you should be.

White Line Disease is a newly discovered disease. No one knows the cause of it. It occurs in areas that are wet, that are dry, that are hot, that are cold, in high altitudes and in areas below sea level. It has no prejudice whatsoever. It will attack and invade the feet of horses poorly cared for and those well cared for. Horses that are stabled and horses that are pastured are at risk. It literally has no bounds. So you are right to be concerned.

On the Q&A section of my web site, the last question in the column addresses White Line
Disease. We can elaborate on its causes, effects and treatments but you need to read what I have already published on the subject. Your farrier is correct that it must be dug out and opened up to sun light and air. It must not be covered at any time.

Iodine, bleach, peroxide and other such products will do nothing, but you are going to have to try them in order to satisfy yourself as others have done. They will not make it any worse. I have had some success with a product called SAVE-A-HOOF gel and SAVE-A-HOOF liquid. Your farrier should be able to obtain these products. If not, get back to me and I will help you get some.

Prepare yourself for a long battle. Do not be discouraged although it may be an uphill climb. Often times it will seem as though the disease has disappeared, only to have it re-appear in other feet or other horses a short time later. You eventually will succeed if you don't give up.

If you don't feel that you are gaining on the eradication of the White Line Disease after 4 or 5 months, or if you are willing to spend the money now, you should have a portion of the diseased area biopsied and tested in a lab to determine the exact micro-organism and what medication is necessary to kill it.

You should share your successes and your failures with others so that this horrible disease can be documented and some day completely eliminated. Please write me again and advise me of your method of attack and how it progresses. We will use the information you provide us to help to get a handle on this and help other horses in the future.

Respectfully yours,

Geronimo Bayard
The Village Blacksmith
Oakland, Oregon

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This entire web site is copyright protected.  1996-2001 Geronimo & Mary Bayard,  2001-2008 Mary Fitzpatrick
All rights reserved. Contact Mary for reproduction information & permission.