Effect of copper supplementation on the copper ...

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Title Effect of copper supplementation on the copper status of pasture-fed young Thoroughbreds
Author(s) S. G. Pearce, N. D. Grace, E. C. Firth, Jeffrey Wichtel, S. A. Holle, P. F. Fennessy
Journal Equine Veterinary Journal
Date 1998
Volume 30
Issue 3
Start page 204
End page 210
Abstract The effect of copper supplementation of pasture fed mares and foals on the copper status of the foals, in terms of plasma, soft tissue and bone copper concentrations and caeruloplasmin activity, was investigated. Twenty-one Thoroughbred foals from either control mares (n = 9), or copper-supplemented mares (n = 12) were divided randomly into control (pasture only, n = 10) or supplemented (pasture and oral copper sulphate, n = 11) groups. The pasture diet was grazed by all animals, and contained 4.4-8.6 mg Cu/kg dry matter (DM). The copper supplement for the mares contained copper sulphate equivalent to 0.5 mg Cu/kg liveweight (LW)/day. This daily dose was converted to allow administration as a thrice weekly dose (i.e. multiplied by 7/3) which was given for 13-25 weeks prior to foaling. The supplemented foals, also dosed 3 times a week, received 0.2 mg Cu/kg LW/day at age 21 days, which was increased to 0.5 mg Cu/kg LW/day at 49 days and was continued at this level until euthanasia at 150 days. Foal plasma copper concentration and caeruloplasmin activity increased from birth to 21 days post partum and then plateaued at a concentration similar to the mare, but the rise in these indices was not affected by copper supplementation of the mare or foal. Copper supplementation of the foal increased foal liver copper concentration at 150 days (P<0.03). Copper intake of diets containing approximately 8-28 mg Cu/kg DM is well reflected by liver copper concentration, but is poorly reflected by bone, other soft tissue copper concentrations and circulating copper status indices.

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