Since many of you have posted with symptoms and questions concerning
selenium deficiency, I have taken the liberty of giving you excerpts
from articles I have regarding selenium deficiency. I have also included
the links so you can read the entire article if you are interested. I
discovered we were selenium deficient 10 years ago when I had a doe kid
exhibit signs of white muscle disease. My vet at the time did the blood
tests and also told me he saw many cases of white muscle disease in
livestock in our area (even though according to the maps we are not
deficient). So much for government reports!
From An Update on Selenium by George F. W. Haenlein
, Cooperative Extension
Dairy Specialists University of Delaware
Selenium-deficiency symptoms in livestock (and primates) include
cataracts, underdevelopment of blood systems, loss of hair, weight loss,
weakness, lack of growth, liver failure skin disorders and reproductive disorders (usually in females, but also abnormal functioning in semen).
Selenium deficiencies in cattle, sheep and goats result in degeneration of muscle (especially the heart muscle), general stiffness,
loss of hair, separation of hoof tissue, liver and pancreas damage,
laying-down, death, weak newborn calves (kids, lambs), interference with normal growth and reproduction, retained placenta, impaired immune system, slow recovery from uterine and mammary infections, and increased
susceptibility to mastitis.
Research has shown that supplementation with selenium and vitamin E can reduce--even prevent--mastitis
From Vitamin E and/or Selenium Deficiency by G. F. Kennedy, D.V.M.
The injectible Selenium, Vitamin E product that is available does not
contain adequate levels of Vitamin E. Once adequate levels of selenium have been reached, which can be accomplished with one injection, do not repeat because it is very easy to cause acute selenium toxicity, which will result in sudden death. Addition Vitamin E (200-400 I.U.) should
be given with initial Selenium injection. Vitamin E injection should be repeated as necessary. <I would like to add that I have found that goats
require much higher doses of Vitamin E and that the oral products seem to
At birth lambs should receive at least 200 I.U. Vitamin E. This
should be repeated at three weeks if necessary. This may be injected or given orally.
From Trace Elements/Micronutrients Fact Sheet
by Steve Ensley, DVM, PhD and Mike Carlson, PhD
Selenium Deficiency has been linked to white muscle disease (WMD), retained placenta and impaired immune response to infectious diseases.
The Vitamin E requirements of agricultural livestock may be influenced by a variety of factors. A high proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids and deficiencies of Se and sulfur-containing amino acids may increase the vitamin E requirement considerably. In addition, stress and high dietary concentrations of nitrates, heavy metals or mycotoxins may increase the vitamin E requirement.
Cause and effect relationship of trace element aberrations with abortions and perinatal mortality have not yet been completely characterized, but suggest a nutritional/metabolic disorder in which
excessive nitrate exposure, gestation and environmental stresses, and inadequate copper, selenium and other essential micronutrients may all be contributing factors
I have found that copper and selenium are closely linked and if one is off, then the other will most likely be as well.