Trace Element Profiling

Trace element deficiencies can cause a variety of losses in productivity: reduced reproductive performance in cows with copper deficiency; increased embryo loss in sheep with selenium deficiency; reduced lamb and calf “get up and go” at birth with iodine deficiency - to name just a few. Deficiencies can cause frank disease as well, such as swayback in lambs due to copper deficiency or white muscle disease/mulberry heart disease in calves, lambs and pigs due to selenium deficiency.

Faced with these potential losses it can be tempting to take a “catch-all” approach and supplement for everything e.g. using mineralised buckets. Not only is this a less cost-efficient approach, but it runs the risk of over-supplementation leading to toxicity (an especial risk with sheep and copper).

There are a variety of approaches to testing your animals for trace element deficiencies - these include blood sampling 6-10 animals or requesting liver or kidney samples from the abattoir for tissue testing. We can even take liver biopsy samples from living animals which is particularly valuable when it is suspected that a diet is providing too much copper.

If you would like further information on trace element deficiencies or would like to discuss your testing options, please don’t hesitate to contact us.