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This is a discussion on Selenium? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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  • 1 Post By DRichmond

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    09-06-2012, 12:33 AM

So I called my vet to discuss my horse's diet and told her everything I fed them. We agreed they get too much so I've worked all that out. She mentioned that the only common supplement horses in our area tend to need is Selenium and Vitamin E. I am happy to provide Vitamin E for my horses even though it's expensive - I know how wonderful it is.

But I'd never really looked into selenium before. I went out and purchased one of those salt licks with selenium mixed in. My mare happily licked it up for a little while - my pony just pawed at it until it was a big pile of dust and didn't eat any.

Then I looked it up. Apparently it's got a very small window of safety for horses between being deficient and being toxic. I suppose I should call my vet on this - but how do I know if my horses actually need this - being so dangerous I don't want to risk it. Aside from obviously a blood test. Is providing a selenium salt lick free choice a safe thing to do? Can it potentially cause toxicity? I'm beginning to wonder if I need to go take it out of their stalls now... Is it worth the risk?
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    09-06-2012, 12:44 AM
You could always get a vit e selenium supplement that you feed in measured doses. There are several to choose from.
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    09-06-2012, 12:45 AM
I wouldn't worry and stress about the possibility of selenium toxicity, if the area where you live and any pasture they're on is selenium deficient, it's awfully rare for horses to react from the selenium trace mineral blocks you provide them. Here is an article which will describe symptoms so for peace of mind you have something to go by. Chaffee-Park County Extension The best route is to find out whether the area you live and soil is or isn't selenimum deficient, calling your local ag university they usually can give you the low down on that.
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    09-06-2012, 12:46 AM
I have seen those but even still they all say that Selenium dosing depends on where you live and how much they get.

ETA I just saw your post, thank you that's awesome info. I took her lick away for the night, she's eaten entire salt licks before. If she did say eat her whole salt/selenium lick would that be a real concern?
    09-06-2012, 12:57 AM
The Horse Nutrition Handbook says selenium supplementation "is probably best accomplished by adding both vitamin E and a selenium source to the feed".

Also, "Horses require around 0.2mg/100 kg (body weight) in their diet."

Your vet could probably tell you how much to supplement.

ETA I love your avatar.
    09-06-2012, 12:59 AM
Punk I'd let her go at it as much as she wanted. If she's craving the block then she's probably missing something. I have to give my girls selinium shots and all the Foaling kits you get from vets in my area have them in them as well. She needs it. But if your worried get a booster or a powder supplement you can feed over grain.
    09-06-2012, 01:09 AM
She hasn't gone crazy over this lick - yet. She licked some of it then stopped. But when I first got her she ate a whole 5 pound salt brick in less than a week >.< she continued eating any salt left in her stall out of what I assume was boredom in her stall at night. But now that she's with her pony she's stopped eating it and just licks it when she needs it.

I guess I'm concerned that if she just needs salt and licks up a bunch of the lick can she OD on selenium? She has a plain salt lick too, which I hope she'd use if she just needed salt. I guess I'll give it to her while I'm around to watch her and see if she seems to want it. Until I get a vet to get her a blood test.

How do I know if she actually needs it though? She's never stiff or anything - in fact she's quite flexible :P I don't really know

ETA: aforred - thanks! That's my girl :3
    09-06-2012, 01:20 AM
I give it because the majority if my herd is older and its good stuff fo joints. I didn't even know about it until I had my first Foal and my vet recommended it for all the girls. Like you we don't have it in the soil here. Water washes it out. Lots of rain in Western Washington. She won't OF on the block. I it has trace minerals and trace selinium if its a standard mineral lick.

Ps. Tank is one if my fav horses on the forum. How's the rides outside the field going?
    09-06-2012, 09:11 AM
Oh good that's relieving.

Haha thank you!! I love your Belgian too <3 She's actually doing really well. We've started clicker training and I taught her to touch targets. This has helped dramatically she'll go anywhere to touch a target!
    09-06-2012, 08:25 PM
Horses have not been observed to self-regulate any mineral other than salt.

The easiest way to ensure a horse is getting the right amount of selenium/vitamin E is to feed a vit/min supplement, ration balancer, or fortified grain with an amount appropriate to your area (and feed at the minimum recommended rate or higher). Unless you have your hay/pasture tested, you really can't assume it has everything else in proper proportions, either, so feeding one of those products is even more important.

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