Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Foal or Newborn, Belly seems Bloated

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

Code Yellow - Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

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

  • If the foal is not as bright as normal or not nursing normally.
  • If the foal is showing signs of colic pain along with this sign.

Code Yellow - Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

  • If the foal appears otherwise normal, i.e. is active and nursing normally.

Bloating or abdominal distention appears obvious in foals because of their small size and relatively thin body walls. Bloating can either be a low-grade, chronic appearance or it can be sudden and usually associated with other signs of illness, colic, depression or loss of appetite. Foals with under-nutrition tend to appear pot-bellied and bloated.

Newborn foals with signs of abdominal pain (colic) often show signs of abdominal distention. In this case, the intestine may be physically obstructed or simply not functioning properly. Either way, the intestine fills with gas, fluid or feed material. Foals that have bladder rupture and accumulation of urine in the abdomen also may appear bloated.

Older foals with more chronic conditions can also have a bloated and otherwise poor appearance, without necessarily showing colic signs.

WHAT TO DO

Assess your foal’s general health noting whether this sign appeared suddenly or gradually. Consider the presence or absence of colic signs, and consider the foal’s attitude and appetite. Promptly contact your vet with your findings and concerns.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet considers the situation and the foal’s other physical exam findings to determine a course of action. The nature of the bloat (intestinal versus urine or other) may be determined using physical exam, ultrasound and x-ray.

Helpful Terms & Topics in HSVGWritten, Reviewed or Shared by Experts in Equine Health

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

CONTACT US

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Sending