Veterinary Research Communications

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 159–174

The Influences of Dietary Intakes and Supplementation with Selenium and Vitamin E on Reproduction Diseases and Reproductive Efficiency in Cattle and Sheep

  • R.G. Hemingway

DOI: 10.1023/A:1022871406335

Cite this article as:
Hemingway, R. Vet Res Commun (2003) 27: 159. doi:10.1023/A:1022871406335


Retained placenta, endometritis, cystic ovaries and low conception rates are often considered as interconnected conditions in cattle. Wide ranges in amounts of selenium and vitamin E supplements have been advised in late-pregnancy diets and, frequently, they can be synergistically beneficial. Animals at grass or with other green foods should be of adequate vitamin E status, but dietary selenium deficiencies are both more frequent and severe. Selenium status is important for superovulation in cattle and multiple births in ewes because of its importance in sperm transport and establishment of ova. However, the potential toxicity of selenium-enriched feed supplements restricts their use on a free-access basis. Giving sodium selenite or selenate by injection provides only a short-term response in the plasma. Barium selenate given in oil by injection provides a more durable response but has potential tissue residue problems. Compressed metallic selenium powder with iron powder in high-density reticulo-ruminal pellets gives sustained release, but uncertainties regarding possible surface coating and the variable effects of selenium particle size may require additional grinders to ensure prolonged release. Neither reticulo-ruminal pellets of such composition nor barium selenate by injection may be used worldwide because only sodium selenite and selenate have general regulatory approval. A sustained-release multi-trace element/vitamin rumen bolus system effective for several months has increased lambing percentages in ewes, and increased herd conception rates and reduced the spread of calving for herds of beef cattle.

cowsdietewesreproductionretained placentaseleniumsupplementationvitamin E

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • R.G. Hemingway
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Veterinary Clinical StudiesGlasgow University Veterinary SchoolBearsden, GlasgowUK