Farriers' Roundtable

Q: I have encountered quite a bit of seedy toe recently. Is it always best to shoe the foot after debriding it? What if the horse has usually gone barefoot? 

— Georgia Farrier

A: In some parts of the country, there are veterinarians that refer to it as white line disease. Whatever you want to call it — and for this roundtable I am going to call it seedy toe — it is found in the center of the toe in the wall itself. It can spread up the wall toward the coronet band and horizontally around the toe of the hoof. It is mainly confined to the toe region.

The causes that contribute to seedy toe might be fungus; improper hoof wall conformation that caused flaring of the wall; too much time between trimmings causing stress in the wall; a hoof wall abscess, which leaves a tract up the inside of the wall; and environmental changes (too wet or too dry). 

There is also some thought that it may be hereditary.

I treat seedy toe by fully debriding the grainy, foreign matter in the toe until I reach healthy hoof wall. I then pack this area with Keratex putty, cover the Keratex with cotton or gauze and place the shoe over that. I never leave the hole empty because debris can collect inside and then you are back to treating the same condition, but in a much more advanced state.

Each time I come out to reshoe the horse…

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