Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Foal or Newborn, Grinding Teeth or Curling Lip

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

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

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

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

  • If you are convinced this is a sign of colic (abdominal pain).
  • If you notice other signs of abdominal pain (colic).
  • If the foal is not as bright as normal or not nursing normally.

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

  • If this seems mild or occasional and the horse seems normal otherwise.
  • If the foal appears otherwise normal, i.e. is active and nursing normally.

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

  • If you notice this sign only when the foal is being handled. The foal seems well otherwise.

Curling of the lip (flehmen), is a common behavior in healthy foals. Tooth grinding can be a sign of aggression (or a defensive behavior) in foals that are unaccustomed to people and handling. However, either behavior also may be a sign of abdominal pain (colic).

WHAT TO DO

If in doubt about the nature of this behavior in your foal, assess their general health paying particular attention to their attitude, vital signs and nursing behavior.

Taken alone, with no other signs of illness or abnormalities, this behavior may not be cause for worry. However, if this behavior persists or is accompanied by any other abnormalities, contact your vet with your findings and concerns.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet’s primary concern is to be sure that these behaviors are not being caused by abdominal pain (colic). Depending on their findings, they may recommend additional diagnostics to determine the cause of this behavior.

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

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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