[en] selenium deficiency ; oral supplementation ; selenized-yeast ; suckling calves ; Belgian Blue
[en] Belgian Blue (BB) beef cattle is particularly prone to selenium (Se) deficiency due to the poor Se content of soil and roughages on rearing farms and the higher requirements of this hypermuscled breed. The goal of this trial was to compare the effects of different forms and concentrations of Se supplementation on Se status, health and performance in 60 pregnant Se-deficient BB cows. Cows were allocated to 3 experimental groups receiving selenized-yeast at 0.5 ppm Se on total ration (Y-Se 0.5), Na-selenite at 0.5 ppm Se on total ration (Na-Se 0.5) and Na-selenite at 0.1 ppm Se on total ration (Na-Se 0.1), respectively. Cows were supplemented from 2 months before calving until 2 months after calving. Data on performance, health and Se status of the dams and their calves were analyzed using a linear model, least squares means and logistic regression. At the end of the study, plasmatic Se (pSe) was significantly higher (P<0.01) in cows receiving Y-Se than in cows from other groups. Glutathion-peroxidase in erythrocytes (GSH-pxe) was higher in Y-Se and Na-Se 0.5 than Na-Se 0.1 group (P<0.01). Se content in colostrum and milk was significantly higher (P< 0.01) in Y-Se than other groups. At birth, Se status of calves from group Y-Se was significantly higher than those of other groups (P<0.01). Plasmatic Se in calves remained higher for 75 days after birth in Y-Se compared to other groups (P<0.01). Diarrhoea was the most commonly observed disease in the calves and, during the first 15 days of life, diarrhoea occurred in 6%, 21% and 35% of calves from groups Y-Se, Na-Se 0.5 and Na-Se 0.1, respectively. Over the whole 75 days trial period, incidence of diarrhoea was 19, 29 and 65%, respectively. Average daily gain (ADG) in calves born from Y-Se group of cows tended to be higher than in Na-Se 0.5 (P=0.06) and Na-Se 0.1 (P<0.05) but there was no difference between Na-Se 0.5 and Na-Se 0.1 (P>0.1). At the same dosage, Y-Se conferred better Se status in both dams and their calves than did Na-Se. Requirement of 0.1 ppm Se seems to be insufficient in BB to optimise health and performance. Regarding health status and ADG in calves, Y-Se seems also to result in better performance. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.