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Re: Selenium

Well, both vets are kinda right.  How about *that* for added confusion

There may be all sorts of causes for tying-up, but for every bit of
research that says, "yes, this probably causes it", there seems to be
another paper that shows up to contradict the statement.  Right now, the
possible causes include such things as a low selenium/vitamin E ration,
local or systematic lactic acid accumulation, electrolyte imbalances,
anesthesia recovery, colic, and a whole host of others.  Some cases
can't even be explained.  Most of the possible causes have also been
refuted in the journals, and so they remain unproven.  However, it does
not discount the "possibility" that something such as low selenium in
the ration as a possible cause for a particular horse.

One promising condition (for which I have not seen a rebuting paper to,
but correct me if there is one please) is equine polysaccharide storage
myopathy --- for some horses, this genetic defect prevent them from
utilizing soluble carbohydrates properly.  As a result, they may display
the symptoms of tying-up when working; treatment involves restricting
the soluble carbohydrate intake (such as corn) and feeding only hay and
oil (the oil provides the additional calories needed by harder working

IMHO, I would speak with your vet about any nutritional deficiencies
that may or may not be present in your horse's ration if you think
selenium levels are a concern.  If you live in a selenium-deficient
area, then a selenium supplement may be needed.  But, many commercial
mills already supplement their feeds with selenium, which may be a
problem for those folks living in areas with known toxicities.  Hard
working horses do require a higher plane of nutrition to keep up with
the body's demands, but oversupplementing a nutrient can do far more
harm than good.  

Hope it helps.

Kim (and Lee, the QH mutt)

On Sun, 10 Oct 1999 20:53:48, Liz Newfield <> wrote:

> I am interested in information about selenium, especially as relates to
> tying up.  Two vets I know and respect have opposite opinions.  One
> maintians that horses with low selenium levels are prone to the condition,
> the other says that there is no research to support this belief.  What are
> some of the other effects of low selenium?
> (Maybe we can get a bit of email.)

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