Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Newborn Foal, Up & Down or Rolling

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

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

    Foals are very sensitive to abdominal pain (colic). Rolling is one of the most common signs of a foal in abdominal pain. So if your foal is rolling or getting up and down repeatedly, this is probably colic.

    Common causes of abdominal pain in newborns are meconium impaction, gastric ulcers and early enteritis/colitis but signs from these conditions will look like those caused by other conditions. See the record Foal, Colic Signs for more information.


    Notice whether the foal’s abdomen is visibly distended, if they are straining to defecate, or if they are experiencing other signs of abdominal pain. Depending on the circumstances, it may be unwise to try to handle the foal or examine closely, as this may worsen the situation. A distressed foal is not easy to examine and handling the foal may make the situation worse.

    Immediately contact your vet with your findings and concerns.


    With a physical exam and other diagnostics, your vet will try to diagnose and treat the underlying cause.

    What Not To Do

    Foals rarely roll for pleasure as adult horses do, so do not assume that this is the reason for the behavior.

    Do not try to examine or treat your foal unless you are able to do it easily and if your vet advises it. Absolutely do not use flunixin meglumine (Banamine®) without your vet's guidance.

    Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


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