What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation.


Newborn Foal, Up & Down or Rolling


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.

  • Code Red

    Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

your role


What To Do

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.

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.

your vet's role

With a physical exam and other diagnostics, your vet will try to diagnose and treat the underlying cause.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • Is the foal active and nursing?
  • Are you seeing other signs of abdominal pain (colic)?
  • Does your foal have diarrhea?
  • When did you first notice this?
  • How old is your foal?
  • Was the foal normal before, i.e. nursing, bright and alert?
  • Have you seen the foal pass the first, dark stool, the meconium?
  • Is the foal straining to defecate now or was it earlier?
  • Is the foal a male or female?

Treatments Your Vet May Recommend

A way to resolve the condition or diagnosis. Resolving the underlying cause or treating the signs of disease (symptomatic treatment)

Very Common
more treatments

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP