Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Widened White Line of the Hoof

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

Code Yellow - Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

  • If you notice lameness in addition to this sign.

Code Yellow - Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

  • If you do not notice any lameness or stiffness.

The white line of the sole of the foot represents the visible portion of the laminar layers, the junction of the hoof wall and the underlying tissues bonded to the coffin bone.

In normal healthy horses, the white line should be just a few millimeters wide. When the laminae are damaged (most commonly by laminitis), there is stretching of these tissues, resulting in a widened white line. This will only be visible on a barefoot horse, and may require cleaning and light trimming of the dried sole in order to see it.

A widened white line indicates some rotation or movement of the coffin bone within the hoof, and is commonly associated with chronic laminitis. It can also be seen in horses with club foot. In many cases, the white line becomes pitted and porous, allowing thrush to thrive, and predisposing to abscess formation.

WHAT TO DO

Study the white line when you examine your horse’s feet and know what it looks like in health. If you notice what you think is a widened white line, in the absence of other signs, take a photo of it and send it to your vet or farrier for discussion. To the extent possible, always pick out any loose material and especially black thrush from the white line.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

A primary goal for your vet is to determine whether laminitis is the cause of this sign. They look for other signs of chronic laminitis (founder), including dropped sole, collapsed front of hoof wall, and unevenly spaced growth rings on the hoof wall.

They carefully consider the horse’s history and examination findings. Radiographs are the best method for visualizing the position of the coffin bone within the foot and are usually needed. Radiographs are also helpful to farriers in determining ideal shoeing technique and shoe placement.

Helpful Terms & Topics in HSVGWritten, Reviewed or Shared by Experts in Equine Health

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

CONTACT US

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Sending