Should I give my horses a Selenium supplement? - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-06-2012, 12:14 PM Thread Starter
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Should I give my horses a Selenium supplement?

From what I have read, too much Selenium can be much worse then not enough. Does anyone give their horses a Selenium supplement? The horses all have a mineral block in their stall, and all of them eat it (although some more than others.)

We had another episode of colic a few days ago, and a friend had mentioned that maybe it has to do with a selenium deficiency. But from what I have read, if it has to do with selenium at all, colic would be cause from too much. Is that correct?

It was a very mild case of colic, a walk and some gas-ex fixed her right up. But it's only been about 7 weeks since Rain died from a bad episode of colic. Another contributing factor, is the mare that had colic most recently is Rain's full sister, so it could be genetic. The two of them also used to chew the walls in their stalls pretty badly too. So I am thinking it has more to do with genetics/ wood chewing then it does Selenium.

I am just looking for any information and opinions about selenium and horses. Thanks :)
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post #2 of 8 Old 01-06-2012, 12:48 PM
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I give my horses a selenium supplement per my vet. Get your soil checked. Your soil may have enough selenium in it to keep your horses at a healthy level. Michigan soil is very depleted so when my ex barrel horse had issues with tying up, my vet checked his levels and they were outrageously low.

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post #3 of 8 Old 01-06-2012, 12:48 PM
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I would discuss this with your vet. If you want, you can have them draw blood and do a test to sew what your horses Selenium Levels are.

I wouldn't give Selenium without having them tested for it. As you know, it can be toxic.

The colic, more than likely was caused due to other reasons, not due to Selenium. Horses digestive systems are designed and require consistant access to roughage. The roughage aids in keeping their systems regular and regulated.

Quote:
Horses have delicate systems that were designed for constant pasture grazing, but modern horsekeeping can throw your horse's gastrointestinal tract off balance. High-grain diets combined with the stress of training and competition may leave your horse prone to ulcers, digestive problems and poor overall health. But if you build your horse's diet based on his individual needs, you can help bring him back into balance.

Throw hay, dump grain, turn the horses out. Do stalls, ride, bring the horses in and feed. Sound familiar? If you're like a lot of horse owners, it probobly does. What is doesn't sound like is the way our horses were designed to live. In fact, modern horsekeeping is just about the opposite of what Mother Nature had in mind.

In their natural habitat, horses spend up to 20 hours a day roaming and grazing on a variety of forages. Their digestive systems have evolved to rely on a slow, steady intake of complex carbohydrates, like grasses. As a result, their stomachs constantly secrete gastric acid, whether they're eating or not.

As horses chew, they automatically produce saliva, which contains bicarbonates that act as a natural buffer against the acids in their stomach. Feeding infrequent meals leaves your horse's stomach empty for long periods of time. Some barns spread meals out by adding a "lunch". This additional serving definitely helps, but it's important to remember what is happening in your horse's stomach between meals.

With the constant secretion of gastric acid and no saliva to buffer it, an empty stomach is at high right for gastric ulcers. This painful condition can affect your horse's appetite and digestive function, leading to weight loss, and unthrifty appearance, decreased performance, a poor attitude and even colic.

Fianally, the equine hindgut was designed for continuous fermentation throughout the day. Fasting and then feasting can cause digestive upset, disrupting the delicate balance in the large intestine, which can result in a number of problems, including painful build-up of excess gas. The modern diet was not designed for your horse's optimum health.

The majority of every horse's diet should consist of roughage, like hay or fresh pasture. In fact, your horse should be eating 1-2% of his body weight in hay or other forage every day. For a 1,000lb horse, that is 10-20lbs daily! Ideally, your horse would have free choice, but if that's not possible, try to spread out his meals throughout the day.

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post #4 of 8 Old 01-06-2012, 01:09 PM
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Maine is historically low in Se however, if you feed fortified concentrates and offer a good mineral supplement (not a trace mineral salt block) your needs should be met.

Se deficiency does not cause colic.
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post #5 of 8 Old 01-06-2012, 01:21 PM
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What type of colic are you dealing with? It could be from bad hay, it could be from barometric preasure changes, it could be sand related. What type of soil do you have?

I do give my one of my horses sand clear each month because he is prone to sand colic. How are you feeding your horse? On the ground? In a stall? Etc.

If you want to do a sand check, take a couple poop balls and put them in a bucket of water. Wait about a half hour for them to dissolve and then slowly dump the water out to see if there is sediment at the bottom of the bucket...

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post #6 of 8 Old 01-07-2012, 11:33 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by farmpony84 View Post
What type of colic are you dealing with? It could be from bad hay, it could be from barometric preasure changes, it could be sand related. What type of soil do you have?

I do give my one of my horses sand clear each month because he is prone to sand colic. How are you feeding your horse? On the ground? In a stall? Etc.

If you want to do a sand check, take a couple poop balls and put them in a bucket of water. Wait about a half hour for them to dissolve and then slowly dump the water out to see if there is sediment at the bottom of the bucket...


Thank you, I've done the poop test. My mare that died was prone to sand colic, but we also give everyone psyllium once a month. The episode with colic most recently was with a mare that's never colicked before. Just trying to figure out whats going on...

Thanks everyone for your responses.
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post #7 of 8 Old 01-07-2012, 12:15 PM
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Why horses colic can drive the owner nuts trying to prevent it's reoccurance. The gut is about 28' long and once it leaves the stomach it is not attached to anything until the exit so it's basically floating. A horse needs to be moving around in order to help prevent gas colic. Twisted gut is wholly another matter and can just happen - completely unpredictable. When the gut twists blood circulation is strangled, gut fluids build up, horse is in agony and sweats profusely. Unfortunately, when the sweating stops, the hemoraging has begun and the horse finds relief from the pain but is bleeding internally.
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post #8 of 8 Old 01-08-2012, 03:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Saddlebag View Post
The gut is about 28' long and once it leaves the stomach it is not attached to anything until the exit so it's basically floating.
The gut is far longer than you realise being about 70' long from stomach to anus and is suspended in the body cavity by bands of muscle.

Selenium levels need to be checked by your vet as overdosing can cause a lot of problems. If you are feeding any processed compound feeds then selenium is usually included.
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