Selenium is an essential mineral for horses, and it plays an important role in normal metabolism and proper functioning of the immune system. Without enough selenium in their diet, horses can develop a variety of health problems, including anemia and colic. However, too much selenium can have serious consequences for horses as well.
What is Selenium?
Selenium is a trace mineral that is found in hay, grains, and soil. It is an essential component of enzymes that act as antioxidants in the body. It is also necessary for healthy hair and hooves, as well as for normal metabolism and immune system functioning. Horses typically require only small amounts of selenium in their diet, so it’s important to ensure that their diet is balanced and that they are not consuming too much.
What Causes Too Much Selenium?
Horses can get too much selenium in their diet if they are given too much of a supplement containing selenium, if they are fed hay or grains grown in soil with high levels of selenium, or if they consume water containing high levels of selenium. It’s important to know the selenium levels in the hay, grains, and water that your horse consumes, as well as the selenium content of any supplements you give them.
Effects of Too Much Selenium
High levels of selenium can cause a variety of health problems in horses. The most common and serious condition is called selenosis, which is caused by the accumulation of selenium in the body. Symptoms of selenosis include:
• Weight loss
• Poor appetite
• Muscle tremors
• Uncoordinated movement
• Abnormal heart rhythms
In severe cases, selenosis can cause liver damage, neurological problems, and even death.
Diagnosis and Treatment
If you suspect that your horse has too much selenium, it’s important to take them to the vet right away. Your vet can diagnose selenosis by doing a blood test and analyzing the levels of selenium in your horse’s system.
If your horse has been diagnosed with selenosis, the vet will likely recommend a course of treatment. Treatment typically involves removing the source of the excess selenium (such as the hay or supplement) and providing supportive care such as fluids and vitamins. In some cases, medication may be necessary to help reduce the amount of selenium in the body. If the condition is severe, your horse may need to be hospitalized.
Preventing Too Much Selenium
The best way to prevent your horse from getting too much selenium is to be aware of the selenium content of their diet and environment. Make sure that you are feeding hay, grains, and supplements that are low in selenium, and check the selenium levels in your horse’s water. If you suspect that your horse’s environment or diet contains high levels of selenium, it’s best to switch to a different source.
It’s also important to talk to your vet about the proper amount of selenium for your horse. Your vet can help you determine the proper amount of selenium for your horse based on their age, weight, and lifestyle.
Selenium is an essential mineral for horses, and it’s important to ensure that they get enough in their diet. However, it’s also important to make sure that they are not consuming too much. Too much selenium can lead to serious health problems, such as anemia, colic, and even death. If you suspect that your horse has too much selenium, it’s important to take them to the vet right away for diagnosis and treatment. The best way to prevent too much selenium is to be aware of the selenium content of their diet and environment, and to talk to your vet about the proper amount of selenium for your horse.