Selenium: Deficiency (& Toxicity) in the Equine

An adequate intake (and absorption and metabolism) of selenium is essential for maintaining the overall health of your horse. This mineral plays many essential roles: it acts as an antioxidant; reduces inflammation; has critical implications in the fertility of both mares and stallions; is needed for proper cartilage and hoof formation; and promotes skin health.

Research strongly suggests that selenium may help to prevent tying-up in certain cases. When prescribed appropriately, selenium has been demonstrated to improve performance, stamina and muscle strength in the equine.

Australian soils and pastures are generally low in selenium, particularly those that are: acidic or sandy; have a high clover content; have heavy or long-term fertiliser application; have high amounts of rainfall.

Many people are unaware that an excess intake of selenium is extremely toxic. Whilst soils and pastures may be low in this nutrient, the widespread use of fortified feeds and supplements ‘self-prescribed’ by well meaning owners to their horses may result in inadvertent over-dosing.

Supplementation of any nutrient should be strategic and well indicated, encompassing a holistic approach. Be smart…. seek professional advice to OPTIMise your horse’s health…

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