Selenium is an essential trace mineral that is provided in varying amounts in soils and feedstuffs. Horses from the Northwest, Great Lakes region, and Eastern seaboard are very susceptible to selenium deficiency due to extremely low levels of selenium in the soil. In addition, use of fertilizers compete with the uptake of selenium, driving the selenium content even further down and causing areas with adequate soil selenium levels to have a tendency to produce low selenium forages. Selenium is important for many daily functions in the horse. It is crucial for acting as an antioxidant to remove free radicals from the body, as selenium is a rate-limiting component of glutathione peroxidase. Selenium also aids in immune function, producing higher levels of immunoglobins M and G in animals with adequate selenium levels. Thirdly, selenium effects thyroid production, and must be present in the body in order to convert T3 into the active hormone of T4.
Signs of selenium deficiency include muscle weakness and stiffness, Unthiftiness, diminished fertility, abortion, retained placenta, and newborn’s inability to suckle. Extremely selenium deficient horses run the risk of cardiomyopathy and eventually death.
Three mg of organic selenium supplementation is the most effective way to prevent your horse from selenium deficiency. Organic selenium is safer and more bioavailable to your horse than inorganic selenium. Guarantee that your horse is receiving the correct amount of organic selenium from your supplement or grains by checking the label. Look under the ingredient list for selenium yeast, not sodium selenite (inorganic selenium). Be sure that selenium yeast is the only selenium source listed in the ingredient list.
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