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In order to address the relationship of nutrition and white line disease, we can’t overlook the important observations made over the years regarding the disease and numerous predisposing factors.
The late Burney Chapman, a world-renowned farrier from Lubbock, Texas, became one of the foremost authorities on the condition back in the late 1980s and early 1990s. At that time, he began to see an alarming increase in the number of white line cases in both North America and the United Kingdom.
Chapman determined that it was not a disease of the white line, but rather the result of a fungal invasion of the middle hoof wall. He named the condition “onychomycosis,” or ONC. The disease is also known as stall rot, seedy toe, hollow foot and wall thrush.
At first, almost everyone, including Chapman, thought white line disease was found in poorly maintained environments.
But the more he encountered the problem, the more Chapman began to realize the disease often occurred in clean, well-managed stables and barns. He also observed that there was no correlation to breed, color or front vs. hind feet. The initial stages were not painful and usually detected by the farrier during routine hoof care.
Today, we know a bit more about white line disease and recognize that all horses are exposed to this problem. The medial (middle) hoof wall is the structure affected by white line disease. The damage is caused by commonly found bacterial and fungal organisms. These organisms…