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Seedy Toe, or No?

Seedy toe, also known as white line disease, is a common hoof condition in horses. It is characterised by the separation of the hoof wall from the underlying laminae, resulting in a hollow space filled with a crumbly, chalky material. If left untreated, seedy toe can lead to lameness and other complications.


The best way to avoid seedy toe is frequent trims to prevent excess wall, feeding your horse the building blocks to grow strong healthy hooves, and to promptly use Sound Advice topical treatments to combat any infection when it arises.


But does it come from the inside or the outside?


Long hooves crack at the bottom allowing opportunistic bacteria into the hoof wall. Absent human intervention (frequent trimming), a horse needs to get rid of excess hoof wall one way or another. Seedy toe weakens the 'dead' part of the wall and makes it easier to flake or chip off.


That tends to look like this (a domestic horse):




This is the hoof of a freshly mustered brumby: 




If excess hoof wall doesn't flake or crack off, you might end up with something potentially worse like this. 




But what if your seedy toe looks like this?




This is not bacteria entering from the bottom, but instead last year's laminitis - inflammation of the laminae - growing out. You can tell it's laminitis because it will have the stretched out, black or sometimes red or brown (blood) white line in a band, usually around the toe. This is not a trimming/excess wall problem, it's a diet problem.


Hoof wall takes about a year to grow down from the coronet band to the sole plane.


It's important because the conditions that gave your horse laminitis last year are likely to be in play again now.


Not all horses that have laminitis are obviously lame, but generally speaking, without a change in the way you manage your horse, each successive incidence will get worse until you have a horse that is chronically lame. If you have a stretched white line like this, check for digital pulses, heat in the hoof, short stridedness and/or reluctance to make sharp turns. Consider limiting grazing and ensure feeds are less than 10% sugar.


Seedy toe is not a disaster in itself. Many horses can function just fine with a bit of seedy toe, but don't ignore it. A healthy hoof that is trimmed appropriately, and on a diet that meets all their needs generally won't have it.


We make it easy to get under control with simple-to-use, natural products.






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