White Line Disease

By: Katie Jones, CVT

Horse hoof walls consist of three layers; “White Line disease” occurs between the middle and inner layer.

white line disease 2

Characteristics: Progressive hoof wall separation.

  • Affects horses of all ages, sex, or breed.
  • One or more hooves can be infected at one time.

Causes: It is mainly caused by damage to the junction between the adjoining layers. This damage between the middle and inner layers causes an invasion of opportunistic bacteria to the area. The infection will typically spread from the toe up the sides of the hoof but doesn’t infect the coronary band which supplies the hoof with needed nutrients. This gradually breaks down the strength of the wall and causes the horse to become very lame.

  • Over grown feet and an improperly balanced hoof. The improperly balanced hoof (due to over-growth) can lead to a mechanical separation of the hoof due to the greater break over. The more damage that is done to the sole/wall junction and the exterior protection, separation becomes more extensive. The hoof of the horse is similar to the human finger nail; once it is damaged it cannot heal, it must grow out to form a healthier hoof to replace the damaged one.
  • Environmental conditions. Excessive moisture softens the foot, allowing easier entry of debris into the hoof separation. Examples of moist conditions include: Continual bathing, damp shavings in stalls, or moving from a damp stall to a muddy pasture.

Clinical Signs: Lameness is not always present. Lameness is typically not observed until there is extensive mechanical loss between the laminae and the inner hoof.

  • Hoof testers may not detect any discomfort.
  • Early detection will be most commonly seen by a farrier during routine hoof care.
  • Slow hoof growth, poor constancy of hoof wall, a bulge on the coronary band above the affected area, or a hallow sound when the hoof wall is tapped with a hammer (should only be done by your veterinarian).

white line diseaseDiagnosis: Can be difficult if a lameness isn’t present; however, the sole of the hoof should confirm White Line disease.

  • The veterinarian will note a wider separation in the sole/wall junction and it will be softer, as well as having a chalky texture.
  • Drainage could be present if the cavity is large enough.
  • Radiographs can be informative in determining the damage done to the inner hoof structures. The extent of the hoof/wall separation and possible rotation of the coffin bone can both be appreciated with a radiograph. These same radiographs can be used to guide a farrier in his trimming and shoeing.

Treatment: Directed at correcting the cause of the separation and treating the infected area. Treatment options are also based on the severity of infection in the hoof.

  • Iwhite line disease1f heavily infected: Debridement of the affected hoof will need to take place and it will need to be kept clean during the healing process.
  • The infecting bacteria are sensitive to air and light, so it is important the area doesn’t become clogged during the healing process.
  • Special shoeing recommendations are usually prescribed. The foot is typically trimmed with a mild toe-rock to improve the break over, while still being able to support the frog and bars of the hoof with a shoe.
  • Supplements including Biotin to promote hoof growth.
  • Movement is very beneficial for improving the blood circulation to the hoof. If the horse is not painful when moving, it is recommended to do hand walks and/or turnout.

Commitment from the owner regarding a continued treatment schedule is necessary until all signs of the disease has been eliminated and the hoof wall has completely grown out. This disease can be treated and resolved with good management. Treatment of White Line Disease is generally successful, but can be time consuming waiting for the hoof to grow out and replace the damaged area (up to a year). Consult with a farrier and veterinarian if any concerns regarding white line disease arise.


All I Want is a Horse for Christmas!

Horse for xmasJoy, happiness, and the spirit of Christmas are spread through each individual into other’s lives during the holiday season and the weeks leading up to it. With holiday parties and holiday events this time of year, the hustle and bustle of the season is all around us.   For children, a holiday break from school is just what they are waiting for to allow time to enjoy the snowy outdoors. These same children have sat down and created their sometimes VERY long Christmas list for Santa; which may or may not include a pony. For many of us, including a pony on our Christmas list was something we had done as kids and we are now seeing it on our own children’s lists. This year, we would like to highlight a small list of horses who are wishing for a new home this holiday season. There are many horses (and other animals) available in our very own state of Minnesota for adoption. It is a great opportunity to give an animal a second chance at a forever home.

If at this time your pastures cannot expand, consider making a donation to the MN Hooved Animal Rescue. Donations can be made here.

Horses change lives. They give our young people confidence and self-esteem. They provide peace and tranquility to troubled souls, they give us hope!

                                                ~ Tony Robinson
Chicken Soup for the Horse Lover’s Soul

This is Ahzi, he is a 2005 model Registered Appaloosa that stands 14.1 hands. Ahzi is broke to ride, and like so many of us is ready for his Spring tune-up. He is very much looking forward to finding a wonderful human to be his partner.

This beautiful 1999 14.2hh bay Arabian mare is Amari. She is very sweet, well broke to ride, and is suitable for an advanced beginner. She is healthy and sound and just recently had extensive dental work done (so she will now be able to put on the last few pounds she needs as you can see by her photo).

Arizona was foaled in 2002 and stands 15.3h. She is a beautiful and friendly mare who stands for the farrier and loads and unloads easily. She is currently being assessed by a trainer for training level. If you have questions you can e-mail Jean at vbengston@aol.com

Bill is a 2011 Haflinger gelding who came to MHARF after having been abandoned in a park reserve this past summer. He is approximately 3 years old and 13 hands high. He had some swelling, infection and scar tissue above his front coronary bands, but he is doing well now and is available for adoption or fostering. Bill has not been started and he is a potential candidate for the 2015 Trainers’ Challenge (in which case–we could really use a winter foster home for him!)

Angel is a 1998 registered pinto mare. She came to us in need of surgery to repair an umbilical hernia. We have had the surgery completed and she is now healed and ready to start riding again. She has not been ridden for at least the past year and will need some refresher training. She is a nice mare with a good temperament and will require a rider with experience. However, we are told that once she has some refresher training she should be suitable for and advanced beginner on up. She has been ridden almost exclusively in a sidepull in the past.

Blackberry is a black mare who stands approximately 14.2 hands and was foaled around 2005. She was part of the 2013 Brainerd humane case. Pregnant when she came in, she was adopted along with her foal but had to be returned. We have not assessed her training level yet and she will possibly be a candidate for the 2015 Trainers’ Challenge. We don’t know her breeding but she is a stock-type mare. She has a sweet personality and is not dominant in a herd.

For a complete list of available horses click here.

If one of these horses caught your eye, please call the rescue at 763-856-3119 if you would like additional information on their current status. For complete information on adoption guidelines please click here.


By: Katie Jones, CVT

The Streptococcus equi bacterial disease causes horse owners to cringe and barn owners to become nervous. “Strangles” is the term used to describe this condition seen in infected horses when the lymph nodes around the throat become large enough to suffocate the horse. It typically occurs in horses 1 to 5 years old.

Causes: Exposure via direct contact with an infected horse or contaminated objects.

Incubation period: 3-14 days

StranglesClinical Signs:

  • First sign of infection is a fever ranging between 103°F-106°F.
  • 24-48 hours after the fever spike: nasal discharge, depression, inspiratory respiratory noise, and difficulty swallowing.
  • The horse may keep their head down and neck stretched out.
  • The lymph nodes become swollen and painful due to the formation of abscesses.

Diagnosis: Confirmed by a bacterial culture collected with a nasal swab.

strangles1Treatment: Under a veterinarian’s direction.

  • Hot compressions to swollen lymph nodes to encourage drainage. If they don’t drain on their own, they may need to be lanced and flushed.
  • Suspected infected horses need to be isolated from others.
  • If the lymph nodes are swollen to the point the horse is struggling to eat, they should be fed a soft diet.
  • Penicillin is an effective drug for treatment. Occasionally, if Penicillin is started before enlarged lymph nodes are seen, the disease process could stop.


  • The abscesses can rupture and drain through the skin, into the throat and nasal passages, or into the guttural pouch. Each of these conditions has different treatment options and complications.
  • The future development of “Bastard Strangles”.
    • Caused by: The infection spreading into the blood stream; thus, traveling to all the lymph nodes of the organs (liver, kidney, intestines, heart, spleen, and brain).
    • Clinical signs: Weight loss, episodes of colic, and a general decline of health.
    • Requires intensive veterinary management to recover.

Prevention: Strict hygiene protocol (quarantine)

  • A barn with a positive case should have everything disinfected which COULD HAVE come into contact with the horse (stall walls, buckets, ect.).
  • Traffic in and out of infected facilities needs to be restricted.
  • Available Vaccine. The immunity from both the vaccine and natural exposure is short lived. This vaccine is recommended if the horse is at a boarding facility or travels to shows throughout the year.
  • Three negative nasal swabs should be obtained before allowing an infected horse to re-enter a herd.

Strangles 2

Long Term Effect: Most horses which become infected will shed the bacteria for approximately a month after recovery.

Are you new to Anoka Equine?

If you are new to using Anoka Equine as your primary veterinarian, welcome!   If you have been one of our amazing clients for many years, this may be a good chance to see what else we can offer you and your horse. Here is a little information about our clinic and some valuable resources that Anoka Equine offers.

DaveAnoka Equine provides on-farm services for routine preventative maintenance procedures, investigation of health concerns, and 24-hour emergency care. We maintain seven full service mobile units that cover our 35 mile radius around Elk River. Routine procedures in the field include: vaccinations, deworming, maintenance dental care, health certificates and passport examinations, pre-purchase exams, and Coggins testing. Many other health concerns can arise out at the barn and our doctors are prepared to evaluate them as well; examples are: lamenesses, illness, reproductive issues, ophthalmic injuries, and emergency situations (such as colics and lacerations). After an evaluation is completed on your horse, the doctor will administer the appropriate treatments, and if deemed necessary, discuss the option of referring your horse into the clinic for more intensive care and/or diagnostics. We currently possess a portable digital x-ray machine and ultrasound units to help with diagnostics on the farm.  Lastly, procedures commonly done in the field may include: physical exam evaluations, administration of medications, laceration repairs, superficial tumor removals, castrations, wound care, hoof injuries and abscess care, and joint injections. Our in-house laboratory allows our veterinarians to bring blood and other samples back to the clinic for quick results to expedite diagnosis and treatment options.


wellness-programAnoka Equine Veterinary Services offers two programs throughout the year your horse can be a part of. Firstly, our Wellness Program; it is a comprehensive program which combines our recommended routine health care checks for horses in the area at a greatly reduced cost. Enrollment in this program begins at the being of each year and payments are made at each individual vet visit (no upfront cost). For detailed information on the options this program can offer, please visit our website. Secondly, we offer Preventative Care Days from March to May on select dates. These specific dates are released in late February. For detailed information on our Wellness Programs and Preventative Care Days please visit our website; dates for the coming year’s Preventative Care Days are released in February.


088_anoka-equine_2012Anoka Equine Veterinary Services sends out a bi-annual newsletter to our clients via emails. This e-newsletter contains articles  pertaining to case studies and invitations to up-coming events hosted by Anoka Equine. In addition, if you sign up for our newsletter you will also receive equine outbreak information reported in Minnesota. We want to make sure all our clients are kept up-to-date on all information regarding contagious diseases found in the state and how to prevent exposure to their horses. In order to receive all this information, please sign up to receive emails from Anoka Equine as to not miss any of this valuable information in the coming year.

Starting in 2014 Anoka Equine started a weekly blog. Our blog posts range from fun to informational topics. Informational blog posts cover topics like: why we recommend certain services annually, as well as, medical issues you may face at some point during your time as a horse owner.

First Visit to Anoka Equine – How to check in

000_0250When you arrive at Anoka Equine Veterinary Services for the first time, it can be slightly overwhelming. To ease some of this confusion, we will now discuss how to check in for your appointment. When driving up to the clinic stay left of the building and park in front of the silver gate. At this point, we ask you briefly come inside to check-in with your name and the veterinarian you will be seeing. Once the front office confirms your information, they will page for one of our technicians to open the gate and greet you. When the gate opens, please drive past the lameness pad (on your left with orange cones) and park along side the right side of the lameness pad, facing the lower gate at the bottom of the hill. We ask you park this way so later appointments (with varied size trailers) will be able to get around your trailer. In addition, the lower gate is the best exit to use to get back onto 101 from County Road 37. Once parked, a technician will come and greet you, bring you in to the clinic (if there is available room), and take a brief history of your horse to share with the doctor. This brief history is meant to shed some light on the reason you are visiting us and give the veterinarian an idea of what is going on with your horse to prepare them for the direction we may need to take. At the conclusion of your appointment, the technician will be available to assist in loading your horse while the doctor is writing your discharge. After you collect your discharge information from the front office, the lower gate will be opened for you, and you will be on your way.

We hope this information has provided you with a little more information on Anoka Equine.  We hope to see you in the spring.