Conditions or ailments that are the cause of a problem that you see - your observation.

Your vet may diagnose

Foal or Newborn, First Manure, Meconium Impaction


Meconium is a foal's first manure that consists of glandular secretions and digested amnion. It is typically dark brown, black or green and passed within a few hours after standing.

It is sticky, smells like fetal fluids, and looks more like dog feces than horse manure. If it is not passed within 24 hours of birth, it is considered impacted.

Male foals (colts) are more likely than females to have very firm impactions of this first manure. It is a common cause of straining to defecate. It can lead to abdominal pain (colic) if it causes complete obstruction.

my vet's role


The prognosis is good if the problem is a simple meconium impaction and it is promptly treated. However, some meconium impactions can be difficult to treat, require special enemas and may even require intensive care.

my role

Questions To Ask Your Vet:
  • Should I routinely give a phosphate enema to my foals?

Monitor foals for the first 24 hours after birth for passage of meconium. Look for it in the stall. Take note of the amount of straining when the foal does pass meconium.

If the foal appears to be straining, talk to your vet about administering an enema. If the straining persists, your vet should examine the foal.

further reading & resources

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP