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.