• Jin Gan

Sole Ulcer Or White-Line Disease?


Misdiagnosis of toe lesions is very common. Sometimes, it is not obvious whether the condition is a white-line lesion or thin sole toe ulcer. Here are some commonly asked questions:

Q: Why are thin sole toe ulcers and white-line disease misdiagnosed?

  • A thin sole toe ulcer occurs secondary to thinning of the sole that leads to separation of the sole away from the white line.

  • It occurs in the toe, very close to the white line, hence, it is often misdiagnosed as white-line disease.

  • It is also important to note that the thin sole condition is usually associated with abrasive flooring conditions which causes excessive wear of the sole.

Q: What is the difference between a sole ulcer and white-line disease?

  • Laminitis is often the cause of both white-line disease and sole ulcers.

  • White-line disease is affected mainly by environmental and flooring factors. One example is in sand-bedded barns, very coarse sand particles or small rocks can get embedded in the white line.

  • Laminitis also decreases the quality of horn produced and may also cause swelling of the corium, which some believes encourages separation of the white line.

  • Laminitis will also cause the development of sole ulcers around the time of calving as they weaken the suspensory apparatus that permits the sinking or rotation of the P3.

  • One way to manage the ulcers is by hoof trimming, keeping the feet well-balanced or reducing load bearing on claws that may be developing early evidence of sole ulcer.

Q: Does it matter?

  • Understand that laminitis may be a constant factor of claw disease so that better management practice could be implemented to attack the problem at root cause.

  • It is crucial to understand all the factors that causes claw disease so that proper prevention and control method can be put in place.

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