Hoof Cracks and Rot In the White Line

Q: With shoes or without, stalled or turned out, the horses here get a lot of hoof cracks and then rot in the white line. What can we do to help this or, even better, prevent it? —Virginia Farrier

A: Here in North Carolina, it’s important to constantly remind horse owners who have these types of horses to reduce moisture, which in turn could reduce cracks, separations, shelly soft walls and white line disease.

We instruct those clients more than once to:

  • Keep the horses in a dry lot or stalled when fields are wet from rain, snow, mud or dew. No standing in the pond!
  • Keep the stalls clean and dry every day. No urine and manure!
  • Keep bathing to a minimum or eliminate it altogether.
  • Use a hoof hardener according to the manufacturer’s directions. No hardener is a substitute for the above three management tools.

As a farrier, make sure you determine what the shoeing interval for that horse should be and make the owner stick to it. Continue to reduce long toes and flares, which are great places for all the above problems to start.

If there is any suspicion of laminitis, suggest that the owner have his or her veterinarian get a lateral radiograph. Then call the veterinarian to discuss or show you the results.

Richard A. Mansmann

Richard A. Mansmann

I do not have a single magic bullet, but I would bet that if you and the owner actually did all these simple things, the shelliness would diminish.

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