White muscle and other selenium-responsive diseases of livestock Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/administrative_report_or_publications/th83kz633

Revised May 1993. . Facts and recommendations in this publication may no longer be valid. Please look for up-to-date information in the OSU Extension Catalog:  http://extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog

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  • Oregon State University researchers made a significant discovery in 1958. They found that the underlying cause of white muscle disease is a dietary deficiency of the trace element selenium (Se). There is a fairly clear-cut relationship between soil, plant, and animal factors. Certain soils, including some formed by volcanic action in the Northwest within the past 10,000 years or so contain practically no selenium. As a result, plants grown in them are seriously selenium-deficient. This deficiency is passed on to animals eating these plants as fresh forage, hay, or silage as all or most of their diet. In addition to the amount of selenium in these volcanic soils, the supply is affected by intensive cropping practices. Irrigation tends to leach selenium out of the topsoil, and the application of some commercial fertilizers that result in higher crop yields reduces the percentage of selenium in the forage.
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