Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Foal or Newborn, Born with Abnormal Eyes

Code Red - Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

Code Red - Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

  • If the foal seems distressed or you think the eye is suffering damage.

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

  • If the signs are very mild and the eye appears normal otherwise.

Foals can be born with a variety of congenital eye abnormalities. The most common of these is entropion, in which the eyelids and eyelashes are rolled inward, causing irritation and eye discharge, and ultimately damage to the eye. This condition can usually be easily treated by your vet. There are a variety of other less common eye abnormalities seen in particular breeds, some of which may not be treatable.

Any eye problems in foals should be taken seriously because they can quickly damage the eye and make treatment much more difficult and the prognosis worse. Keep in mind that eye problems in foals are often associated with other underlying disorders.

WHAT TO DO

Given the importance of your foal’s sight and the possibility of other problems, if your newborn foals eyes seem abnormal to you, contact your vet right away.

Try to capture the suspected abnormality in a photo (use good light and close up view) and send it to your vet for discussion.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Depending on the circumstances, your vet may need to see your foal immediately, or they can evaluate your foal’s eyes during the post-foaling exam.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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