Hoof Flare: Part III - How Does Hoof Flaring Increase the Chance of White Line Disease and Abscesses?

April 18, 2018

Do you have a horse prone to abscesses, seedy-toe, or white line disease?  Did you know hoof flaring could be to blame?  This blog will illustrate how hoof flaring can increase the chance of white line disease and abscesses.


Remember from the “Hoof School” blog series, the sole region and golden-line (white-line) are composed of many tiny tubules which grow from the many papillae of the sole corium (the golden-line grows from the terminal papillae)—only one single tubule grows from each papillae.  This means there are a limited number of tubules composing the sole region and the golden-line.  Click images below to enlarge:


When the capsule wall flares the entire bottom area of the hoof becomes larger.  Therefore, the sole tubules and golden-line tubules are spread out over a larger area on a flared hoof—meaning the sole tubules and golden-line tubules are less compressed on a hoof with flaring.




But, how do less compact tubules lead to white-line disease and abscesses?....  



You know what loves to fill the extra space now available between the tubules?….fungus and bacteria!....YUCK!


When bacteria and fungus invade the golden-line it is called “white-line disease;” when it occurs at the toe region it is often referred to as “seedy toe”.  If left untreated the fungus and bacteria will move higher and higher up the golden-line eventually reaching the sensitive wall laminae.  When the infection reaches the sensitive wall laminae it will become painful and can even result in founder if the infection reaches enough laminae to detach the capsule wall from the coffin bone


When bacteria and fungus invade the sole region it can result in an abscess if the infection reaches the sensitive sole corium.  An abscess is a pus pocket formed as the infected area of the sensitive sole corium works to battle the infection. Abscesses create painful pressure within the sole region.


So, it’s really that simple...flaring creates more space between the tubules which allows for bacteria and fungus to more easily invade the hoof.


Next, we will take a look at how flaring at the toe can lead to mechanical founder.


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