WHAT IS SEEDY TOE?
Seedy Toe (sometimes referred to as White Line Disease) is an opportunistic bacteria that invades the white line in horses hooves. These microscopic bacteria thrive in an anaerobic environment - meaning that they thrive in the absence of oxygen.
What steps should I take to help my horse?
Seedy Toe can be hard to detect for the average horse owner who is not familiar with hooves and who has no hoof trimming experience. Thorough cleaning of your horses hooves daily and using a gentle but effective hoof spray such as our Hoof Spray with Kunzea Oil can help with extra cleansing but is still no guarantee that at some stage your horse will not have an issue with Seedy Toe. Generally it is located in the "10-2" area at the toe on horses although it can appear anywhere around the hoof capsule within the white line.
HOW DOES SEEDY TOE OCCUR?
Present in the horses environment, these anaerobic bacteria enter via small deviations in the horses hoof at the white line. Commonly seen in horses with compromised white lines, horses overdue for trims (hoof wall leverage), laminitic horses (stretched white lines), metabolic horses and high heeled horses (creating leverage at the toe).
Climatic conditions play a role in this as well. Obviously horses standing around in wet boggy paddocks will be more prone to hoof conditions such as Seedy Toe, White Line disease and Thrush as the hoof will be softer and more prone to bacteria, fungi and yeast infections taking hold. When Summer hooves get extremely dry and brittle, this also allows for the deviations in the white line to open up and allow the pathogens to enter.
If you horse is on a regular maintenance schedule with your farrier or trimmer (trims are optimal at 4 weeks, no more than 6 weeks) then any small issues with Seedy Toe starting should be able to be nicked out quickly with a hoof knife to stop the progression.
It is imperative your farrier attends to the first signs of Seedy Toe. This bacteria can travel and spread rapidly up the hoof wall. What may look like a small defect in the horses hoof at the toe can eat away the internal tissue and create pockets of ongoing infection.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU OR YOUR FARRIER IGNORE OR DO NOT PICK UP ON SEEDY TOE INFECTIONS?
Your farrier or trimmer SHOULD be well versed in what it will mean for your horse if they leave Seedy Toe unchecked. They should be able to quickly identify the infection and remove as much of the infection as possible by opening up the pockets of infection. This is commonly called a Seedy Toe resection and may be a small cut out which is barely noticeable when the hoof is placed on the ground or if left unchecked it can be a huge resection which will take owner commitment to manage.
Seedy Toe left unchecked can also cause abscessing in your horse. Commonly seen as abscesses that will blow out at the Coronet band. If the infection travels straight up through the laminar towards the coronet band, eventually it will blow out in the form of an abscess which is extremely painful for the horse and not the ideal management technique.
HOW TO MANAGE SEEDY TOE?
Keep your horses on schedule with your farrier and trimmer (4-6weeks max) and ensure your farrier is keeping an eye out for any signs of the start of Seedy Toe. Familiarise yourself with what the initial stages of Seedy Toe look like on a hoof, so you can attend to them when the issue is easily managed.
If the infection takes hold and the farrier needs to open up and resect, let them!. As this is an opportunistic bacteria which thrives in an anaerobic environment, it needs to be exposed and resected and a topical management plan put in place. Once the area has been opened up and the infection cleared out, it is then safe to start applying topical management products.
After resection, we recommend keeping the area as clean as possible and applying a topical product which will keep it clear of debris and excess moisture and be easily applied.
This is where our Beeswax BLUE Balls ®️ step in. This Malleable Hoof Putty is formulated for success when dealing with hoof defects such as Seedy Toe and White line deviations. Rolled into a beeswax base with natural oils, they are malleable and can be "squished" right up into the top of the Seedy Toe cavity.
WHAT CAN I DO WHILST WAITING FOR MY APPOINTMENT WITH MY FARRIER?
If your farrier is unavailable in your area, you could consider using White Lightning Hoof Soaks - HOOF MATE
As a liquid management product, HOOF MATE can penetrate into areas of the hoof which you will not be able to access adequately. Gentle on tissue, effective on pathogens.
This is a very economical product - a box of 30 tablets making 15 litres of White Lightning soak. A must have for a regular pathogen blast for the whole hoof capsule.