Marquis Farrier Service
White Line Disease

White Line Disease

Not really a disease, this condition is actually an anaerobic, fungal infection, which invades at the white line or least resistant area of the hoof's ground surface. Once established, it spreads rapidly, effectively destroying the tissue which connects the sole and wall of the hoof, eventually undermining and weakening the integrity of the hoof wall. Because the condition is fungal, rather than bacterial, it is pervasive and persistent and requires long-term treatment.


  • weak, chipped, or shelly walls
  • excessive black tracks in the water line and wall area
  • hollow areas (voids) in the water line, extending up the wall
  • thrush like appearence in the water line


  • provide clean, dry environment
  • apply commercial products to produce horn
  • practice routine maintenance (picking)


Treatment varies according to the severity of the condition. Should it be advanced to the point that the horse is lame and/or hoof wall integrity is severely compromised and radically undermined, a veterinarian and a farrier should work in conjunction, performing a hoof wall resection and applying an appropriate supporting appliance (glue-on shoe) to be worn throughout recovery. Cases of a more intermediate and/or mild nature (i.e., ones which do not compromise the integrity of the hoof capsule), should be debrided and treated aggressively with commercially available medications; my usual recommendation is thrush buster, applied under a conventional shoe. Other acceptable medications include Hawthorne's Hoof Freeze and Hawthorne's Medicated Sole Pack, Farrier Science Clinic's Fungidye, and Merthiolate.


 by Danvers Child , CJF

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