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Seedy Toe - You CAN Get Rid Of It!!!

June 6, 2015

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Seedy Toe - You CAN Get Rid Of It!!!


  • You CAN get rid of it!

  • It is a bacteria eating away at your horse's hoof

  • It will NOT just grow out

  • Stuffing remedies up into the cavity can make it MUCH worse


Seedy Toe/White Line Disease is a bacteria (can also be fungal and yeast) that thrives in dark, moist & anaerobic environments. It gains entry via cracks, old abscess exits, separation in the lamina bond and even nail holes from shoeing.  Once it gains entry it will continue to 'eat' away the internal structures between the hoof wall and live tissue. 


As you can see (image 1 & 2) it’s not always a horrible crack that harbors seedy toe.  It's usually identified by tell-tale black gunk and cavities, but don’t be fooled... this is where it has BEEN!  The tissue is eaten and dead, and the bacteria has moved on.



Images 3 & 4 show just how far the bacteria can invade.  Upon closer inspection a fine, white, powdery ‘mould’ can be seen on the leading edge.  This is the LIVE bacteria.  Like fighting a fire front, efforts need to be focused on where it’s headed.  Topical treatments without resection WILL NOT penetrate far enough to kill the bacteria and in all but the most mild cases, will certainly not just grow out.   In most cases, stuffing products into the cavity will create the perfect environment (moist, anaerobic) for seedy toe to thrive!


The final image (below) shows a fully resected and cleaned hoof.  You can see how opportunistic the bacteria is, not only reaching up very high, but also invading inwards.  The leading edge of the seedy toe bacteria has been reached, exposed to oxygen and treated topically to maintain the advantage while the hoof grows out.  It is important during this period that regular trims are maintained to ensure the bacteria does not re-establish.



Seedy Toe FINALLY removed!



Persistent cases are VERY treatable.  Successful treatment is achieved by having the hoof wall resected (this should only be performed by a trained professional).  Although most farriers have to deal with seedy toe on a regular basis, many rarely undertake this level of resection.  




What are the consequences of leaving it untreated?

  • lameness 

  • abscesses

  • permanent cracks through to coronet

  • eroded pedal bone

  • pedal bone infections

  • forced retirement / euthanasia





"It is not worth the risk to leave seedy toe untreated.  If your hoof care provider has been telling you to leave seedy toe infections untreated (any longer than a couple of trimming cycles) maybe it's time to seek the services of someone who is willing to address the problem.  

It's your horse, after all!"


Andrew Bowe - Director of Australian College of Equine Podiotherapy

Master Farrier & Equine Podiotherapist












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