Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Newborn Foal, Runny or Irritated Eye

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

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

  • Most eye problems are considered veterinary emergencies.

An irritated eye in a newborn foal can result from many things, like corneal injury and foreign material in the eye, but it is most often associated with a turned-in eyelid (entropion). In this case, the eyelashes contact the eye surface, causing pain and irritation and resulting in watering and squinting. Entropion is more common in foals that are dehydrated and sick, but is seen in healthy foals too.

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


Given the importance of your foal’s sight keep the possibility of other problems in mind. Do not allow this condition to continue or worsen over time. Immediately contact your vet with your findings and concerns when you detect eye problems in foals.


Your vet assesses the foal’s eyes in light of their general health. Disorders like corneal ulcer or entropion should be treated promptly to prevent further eye damage.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


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