selenium deficiency - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 02-06-2013, 03:21 PM Thread Starter
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selenium deficiency

has anyone dealt with a horse with a selenium deficiency? what symptoms were presented and how did you come to the conclusion of a selenium deficiency? what did you do to rectify the matter?

just curious as i delve deeper into the specific nutrient contents of my horses' feed.
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post #2 of 25 Old 02-06-2013, 03:35 PM
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There are certain regions that are selenium deficient. Here is a map Selenium in Counties of the Conterminous States

If you are going to supplement with Se. be sure that it is the organic version known as Selenium Yeast, not the man made version known as Selenium Carbonate. The Selenium Yeast absorbs into the body easier, while the Sodium Selenite has been reported to do nothing.

You will know if it's the Selenium Yeast because it is a more expensive supplement!

Here is an article talking about Vit E and Selenium

Safe Vitamin E And Selenium Intakes

Horses can overdose on Selenium and it is NOT pretty (sloughing off hooves). I would suggest to have your soil or horses blood tested before putting your horse on any high dose of Selenium.

There is another thread where I commented on Selenium dosing and Selenium in general.

Selenium? how much per day?
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post #3 of 25 Old 02-06-2013, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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thank you!
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post #4 of 25 Old 02-06-2013, 03:50 PM
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Haven't had it, but just read about it:-0
Signs for deficiency in mild cases might be increased susceptibility to disease, due to a depressed immune system and/ or decreased fertility in breeding stock.
Severe deficiency, far less common, is characterized by weakness, impaired movement, difficulty in swallowing, impaired cardiac function and respiratory distress. Tying up also. White muscle disease in young foals.
Smart book says to find selenium levels in your soil, I.e. pasture, and where your hay is grown. There are areas where there are "pockets" of toxic or nearly toxic levels in the soil, most of the US and Canada are deficient.
"Because of the toxicity threshold of selenium is so low(between 2and5ppm), you should be aware of the selenium content of your local soils( and thus, your pasture and your hay) before you choose a vitamin E-mail and selenium supplement or a selenium-added feed for your horse". Even a mineral block needs to be checked. Your local agriculture extension specialist, co-op or feedstore is the best source of info.
(Source: "Understanding Equine Nutrition", Karen Briggs, revised edition 2010
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post #5 of 25 Old 02-06-2013, 04:19 PM
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I have dealt with it before.

My first symptom was with my gaming pony at the fair. He tied up severely, back was majorly arched, he could not walk. He was like one big contracted muscle from the shoulders back. Eventually we got him loaded into the trailer after 2 hours and got him to a vet.

Bloodwork (Complete Blood Panel) came back that he was severely deficient in Selenium and slightly dehydrated.

After that, we gave him a supplement (I wanna say Red Cell...) and he never had the tying up problem again.
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post #6 of 25 Old 02-06-2013, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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interesting. i've added a vitamin e and selenium supplement to my horse's diet at the recommendation of an equine professional. i've noticed that he's gaining weight however we'll see if the supplement will help his other issues - hitch in the hind end, lack of muscle tone, sweating without really exerting himself and an associated rapid heart rate.
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post #7 of 25 Old 02-06-2013, 09:08 PM
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Uh oh....smart book says signs of selenium deficiency are : patchy sweating, blind staggers, colic, diarrhea, increased heart- and respiration rates if acute( for example when a horse is given Se injections). Chronic toxicity can cause hair loss, especially mane and tail, cracking of hooves around the coronary band and occasionally hooves slough off completely.
I'd have a close look at roughage and other feeds just to be sure there isn't a hidden source of Se somewhere. Better safe than sorry.....
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post #8 of 25 Old 02-07-2013, 11:40 AM Thread Starter
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i've gone through everything that this horse is given feed wise and he's still getting less than the recommended daily dose of selenium by a long shot. if i quadrupled the amount of supplement he's given he'd still be below the "safe" high end ingestion limit.
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post #9 of 25 Old 02-07-2013, 12:11 PM
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I was just repeating what smart book said regarding your horse's other symptoms.
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post #10 of 25 Old 02-07-2013, 12:15 PM
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I would not assume anything. I would get a blood test to confirm. Selenium is poisionous so you shouldn't suppliment with out confirmation
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