What is Selenium Deficiency in goats? symptom, diagnosis and treatment.

Selenium Deficiency in goat is a condition whereby goats are not getting enough selenium in their diet. Goats need selenium, an important trace mineral, for their general health and wellbeing.

Selenium is vital to immunological health, reproductive wellbeing, and general growth and development. Goats that are selenium deficient can suffer from many kinds of diseases.  A decrease in immune strength is one of the most typical, which can make goats more prone to illnesses and infections. In extreme circumstances, this can lead to poor growth, decreased milk production, and even death.

In this article we shall be looking at the various causes of selenium deficiency in goats, its symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

You can also read about What is Goat Polio? Here

Here we go.

What is Selenium?

Selenium is a mineral found in the soil. Selenium naturally appears in water and some foods.

Selenium (Se) is a crucial component of the animal antioxidant systems, which allows for proper maintenance and development.

Importance of Selenium

Selenium is a trace element that is required for the healthy functioning of the body. It contributes in a variety of physiological functions, including immunological function, thyroid hormone metabolism, and antioxidant defense. Selenium insufficiency can occur in goats and other animals, and if left untreated, can have catastrophic effects.

Selenium is multifunctional in animal physiology, as it is required for the normal functioning of multiple metabolic processes. As an antioxidant, selenium promotes a crucial feedback loop between the metabolic activity of specific organs and the regulation of cellular functioning at the cellular level.

In addition to aiding nutritional balance and improving animal performance. Furthermore, its antioxidant action optimizes and protects vitamin E, improves the activity of defense cells, and decreases the severity of secondary infections, namely in mammary gland defense. They are part of the animal immune system, along with copper, zinc, and vitamin E.

What is Selenium Deficiency?

Selenium deficiency in goats can occur when they do not consume enough selenium. Selenium is a trace element that is required for optimal immune system development, growth, and function in goats.

Selenium deficiency in goats can cause a variety of health issues, including poor growth, decreased fertility, and an increased risk of infections and other disorders. selenium deficiency can also cause damage to tissues, resulting in fertility problems and white muscle disease (paralysis and sudden death).

Functions of Selenium in goats?

When goats consume sufficient amounts of selenium and vitamin E, they have the ability to:

  • Reproductive health
  • The production of DNA
  • The function of the thyroid gland
  • Protects the body from infection
  • Lactation
  • Healthy brain development
  • It helps the immune system function properly.

What are the causes of Selenium Deficiency in goats?

Since selenium is found in soil, some soils do not contain selenium and lack adequate selenium to be passed on to plants grown on such soil, resulting in a lack of selenium on such plants when goats eat such plant and without additional selenium supplements, which may lead to selenium deficiency in goats.

So for soils that do not have sufficient selenium it is recommended to use supplement on goats diets.

Diagnosing Selenium Deficiency in Goats

Selenium insufficiency can have major effects for goat health, thus it is critical to identify and diagnose this issue as soon as possible. Here are some signs and symptoms of a selenium deficit in goats:

White muscular disease manifests itself as muscle weakness, stiffness, and trouble moving. It is common in young goats and is caused by a lack of selenium and vitamin E.

A veterinarian or animal nutritionist will often propose a blood test to detect the level of selenium in the goat’s bloodstream to identify a selenium shortage. A tissue biopsy may be conducted in some circumstances to confirm the diagnosis.

If a selenium deficit is suspected or confirmed, therapy will usually consist of giving the goat selenium supplements or changing the goat’s diet to incorporate more natural sources of selenium. When correcting a selenium shortage, it is critical to follow the advice of a veterinarian or animal nutritionist, as too much selenium can be hazardous to goats.

Symptoms of Selenium Deficiency in goats?

In goats, symptoms of selenium deficiency include weakness, muscle tremors, trouble breathing, and a weakened immune system. Selenium deficiency can cause major consequences such as white muscle disease (a condition in which the muscles become necrotic, or dead) and retained placenta in severe cases (when the placenta is not expelled after childbirth). Other symptoms include:

  • Muscle issues include: weakness (walking with bent legs, frequent lying down and trouble getting up), stiffness, and muscle tremors.
  • Reduced resistance (prone to bacterial infections, medications function less effectively);
  • Thyroid function is impaired (slower).
  • Hormone imbalances (reduced fertility).
  • Kids that are unable to stand on their own

How often do you give goats selenium?

Goats require selenium in their diet on a regular basis, but there are certain level of selenium that are acceptable in the system of goats, just like deficiency of selenium has its sides effects, too much selenium also unhealthy to the wellbeing of the goat.

The optimal level of selenium is 0.2 ppm, whereas the hazardous level (too much selenium) is 3 ppm.

Too much selenium can result in diarrhea, excessive salivation, liver and heart issues, and other symptoms. The optimal level of selenium is 0.10 to 0.30 ppm. Although injectable selenium is available, it is a poor alternative for a healthy diet.

Where can goats get Natural sources of selenium?

  • Forage: Some forages, including as alfalfa, clover, and grasses, can have high levels of selenium. Forages’ selenium content varies depending on the soil in which they are cultivated.
  • Grains: Grains like oats and corn can contain trace quantities of selenium.
  • Meats: Goats can get a lot of selenium through meat, especially liver.
  • Fish:  Particularly shellfish, can be a rich source of selenium for goats.
  • Raw Pumpkin Seeds
  • Red Raspberry Seeds

It’s important to remember that the selenium concentration of these natural sources might vary greatly depending on where they’re cultivated or produced. It’s also critical to ensure that goats have enough selenium, as both deficits and excesses can have detrimental health repercussions.

Preventions of Selenium Deficiency in goats?

Selenium deficiency in goats can be avoided by feeding a well-balanced diet rich in selenium-containing foods such as hay, grains, and supplements.

Selenium supplements may be required in some circumstances to ensure that goats get enough of this crucial trace element. Before providing any supplements to goats, consult with a veterinarian or other animal healthcare specialist because they may cause negative effects or interfere with other drugs.

How do you solve a shortage Selenium?

There are numerous methods for treating a selenium deficit in goats:

  • Provide a balanced diet that includes selenium sources: Goats should be fed a balanced diet that includes selenium-rich hay, grains, and other feed sources. This can assist to ensure that goats get enough of this important trace element.
  • If goats are not getting enough selenium in their food, selenium supplements can be administered to help repair the shortage. Selenium supplements come in a variety of formats, such as injectable solutions and oral tablets.
  • Provide selenium-rich forages: In some circumstances, it may be important to provide goats with selenium-rich forages, such as alfalfa or clover. These forages can be cultivated on soil that has been enriched with selenium to ensure optimal selenium levels.
  • Inject selenium: If goats are significantly lacking in selenium, a veterinarian or other animal healthcare specialist may consider injecting the element. This can aid in the speedy correction of the deficiency and the avoidance of catastrophic problems.
  • A lick bucket with selenium. The disadvantage is that some animals absorb too much, and others absorb nothing at all.
  • When 200 grams of concentrate is provided per animal per day, there is normally no shortage.
  • A mineral mixture over the feed. This is often the most suitable method for stable feeding.

Before attempting to cure a selenium shortage in goats, consult with a veterinarian or other animal healthcare practitioner. They can determine the degree of the insufficiency and prescribe the best course of treatment.

What complaints are there in case of excess Selenium?

Goats require selenium for optimal functioning and development, and because the demand for selenium in goats is optimum, an excess of selenium can occur as a result of feeding goat diets that are excessively high in selenium.

The symptoms of an excess are frequently the same as those of a deficiency. Poisoning symptoms such as blindness, salivation, respiratory difficulties, and heart failure can be noticed in large quantities.

How do you know if there are shortage of Selenium in goats?

Because deficiency and excess selenium have similar symptoms, knowing if more selenium is already being added or provided is essential for distinguishing between the two. Blood tests, which should be performed in a laboratory by your veterinarian, also provide a definitive answer if there is an excess or deficiency.

What should you do in case of excess Selenium?

It is generally not suggested to give goats excessive quantities of selenium because high concentrations can be hazardous.

Selenium toxicity, also known as selenosis, can develop when goats consume significant amounts of selenium over time. Tremors, difficulty breathing, weakness, and loss of appetite are some of the symptoms of selenosis in goats. Selenosis can be fatal in severe circumstances.

If you feel a goat has consumed too much selenium, seek emergency veterinarian attention. A veterinarian will be able to determine the severity of the overdose and propose the best course of action.

Treatment may involve drugs to remove excess selenium from the body, supportive care, and regular monitoring of the goat for any subsequent issues.

How to prevent excess Selenium

If you feel a goat has consumed too much selenium, reduce the amount of selenium given, seek emergency veterinarian attention.

A veterinarian will be able to determine the severity of the overdose and propose the best course of action. Treatment may involve drugs to remove excess selenium from the body, supportive care, and regular monitoring of the goat for any subsequent issues.

Is it advisable to provide organic or inorganic selenium?

Organically bonded selenium is utilized slightly better than inorganic selenium in general, although it is also typically more expensive. In practice, a blend of the two forms is frequently used. Organically bound selenium is excreted in higher concentrations in milk than inorganic selenium.


In conclusion, goats’ lack of selenium is a major problem that may have a damaging impact on their growth, reproductive, and general health. It’s essential for goat owners to keep an eye on their herds’ selenium intake and collaborate with a veterinarian to decide on the best supplements. Although selenium is necessary, high doses can be toxic, so a balanced diet and careful monitoring are required. In order to promote a healthier, happier herd and lower the risk of illnesses and other health problems, it is important to prevent selenium deficiency in goats.