NJB Hoofcare White line disease for Exmoor, Somerset
White line disease is a non-infectious condition that occurs when the sole separates from the side wall of the hoof, allowing foreign material to penetrate and infect the white line region.
The white line is easily damaged and is often an entry point for infection; tracks of infection may cause a localised abscess, or may penetrate to form a deeper abscess, and solid foreign bodies may lodge in the softened, widened area and may push through to the sensitive corium beneath. Exposure to moisture softens the region still further and any rupture of the structure is worsened by the impact of movement, particularly among animals housed on concrete.
White line disease is a major cause of lameness with the incidence in older cows being as high as 35%. The outer claw of the hindfoot is usually involved; where both claws are affected the problem may escape notice until lameness is more obvious in one limb than the other.