Sustained selenium supplementation in cattle & sheep - Elders Rural Services

Sustained selenium supplementation in cattle & sheep

Sustained selenium supplementation supports good health, productivity and profitability in cattle and sheep.

Many parts of Australia including much of coastal southern Australia and up the eastern seaboard is selenium deficient. Selenium deficiency can be complicated and affected by various factors and presents an ongoing challenge for farmers across the country.

According to Dr Rick White, Grow livestock agronomist “selenium levels can vary seasonally and geographically – even from property to property – so producers may not know whether selenium intake is sufficient until there are obvious health issues that draw their attention to a deficiency.” However by the time there are clinical signs of deficiency, a large proportion of the herd are underperforming in terms of productivity and reproduction parameters.

Selenium is an essential trace element for ruminants, including cattle and sheep, and is required for normal growth and fertility and to help prevent health problems such as mastitis and scours.  Clinical disease in sheep is known as White muscle disease, whilst sub-clinical symptoms include sub-optimal milk production, sub-optimal fertility, premature and weak calves and mastitis.

The first step towards addressing a potential deficiency is knowing the selenium status of your stock. “Levels of selenium are identified via blood testing a sample number of animals and testing glutathione peroxidase levels. This enzyme level is an accurate reflection of the selenium status of the animal so it provides a cost effective way to determine the requirement for treatment. Our team work closely with producers to encourage this more proactive investigative approach which involves collecting blood samples from the herd for accurate diagnosis and, if indicated, treatment with Selovin LA,”

“We need to ensure cattle and sheep breeders are at their healthiest and production is maximised through supplementation with a long-acting product such as Selovin LA, which gives producers long-term management of selenium deficiency.”

Research has shown that the offspring from deficient animals are also born deficient, and that offspring from supplemented animals are not deficient, so supplementing breeders not only improves their production potential, but also prevents deficiency in the young animal.[1]

Clinical vs subclinical effects of selenium deficiency
Figure 1 Clinical vs subclinical effects of selenium deficiency

Supplementation of replacement females and growing animals should also be performed in deficient areas, with an MLA review of cattle supplementation in deficient areas showing an impressive benefit:cost ratio of between 3:1 and 18:1, depending on the trial site.[2]

Selovin LA is used for the treatment and prevention of selenium deficiency in cattle and sheep. It protects against selenium deficiency in cattle for up to 12 months and in sheep for up to 18 months.

Selovin LA contains barium selenate, which slowly releases selenium into the body after injecting under the skin. It works to elevate and maintain selenium blood and tissue levels in deficient states and ensures sustained adequate selenium levels to maintain fertility, immunity and prevent production losses associated with selenium deficiency.

“Selovin LA provides cost effective management of selenium deficiency in a convenient and safe form of supplement due to the slow release of selenium following administration. Importantly there are no withhold periods.”

To find out more about Selovin LA or selenium deficiency visit the GrowSolutions website or enquire at your local Elders store.

[1] (N. D. Grace, S. O. Knowles, and D. M. West, “Dose-response effects of long-acting injectable vitamin B12 plus selenium (Se) on the vitamin B12 and Se status of ewes and their lambs,” New Zealand Veterinary Journal, vol. 54, no. 2, pp. 67–72, 2006)
[2] (Managing production risk on high input farms, Optimising key animal health issues November 2011 Meat & Livestock Australia Limited)


Article written by Elanco for the Autumn 2021 edition of Seasons Magazine. 

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