KER.Equinews.com - Full Article
By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · September 29, 2016
Finding just the right balance of nutrients can be challenging for horse owners. Take selenium, for example. Too much selenium causes alkali disease, or seleniosis, while too little may cause muscle problems or white muscle disease. But how do you know where your horse stands on the selenium front?
“According to a presentation at this year’s Australasian Equine Science Symposium, some New Zealand horses maintained on pasture had selenium blood levels below the laboratory’s normal limit but appeared completely health,” relayed Kathleen Crandell, Ph.D., an equine nutritionist for Kentucky Equine Research (KER).
Many parts of the world, including regions of the United States and New Zealand have low soil selenium levels. This translates into reduced levels in forage, which is the primary source of selenium for horses maintained on pasture or fed hay-based diets.
To determine selenium levels in horses maintained on pasture in New Zealand in healthy, adult horses, Erica Gee, B.V.Sc., Ph.D., a senior lecturer at Massey University, and colleagues measured monthly selenium levels for one year. They found:
• All horses had low blood selenium concentrations over the study period. Average blood selenium levels were 342 nanomoles/liter, which was approximately 5-10 times lower than the normal levels;
• All horses appeared healthy during the study period despite those low selenium levels; and
• The levels of selenium in pastures varied from month to month, and supplemental hay was also low in selenium...
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