Effect of selenium and a-tocopherol supplementation ...

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Title Effect of selenium and a-tocopherol supplementation on postpartum reproductive function of dairy heifers at pasture
Author(s) Jeffrey Wichtel, A. L. Craigie, K. G. Thompson, N. B. Williamson
Journal Theriogenology
Date 1996
Volume 46
Issue 3
Start page 491
End page 502
Abstract The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of selenium (Se) and alpha-tocopherol supplementation on uterine involution and ovarian function in dairy heifers fed a prepartum diet containing low concentrations of Se and alpha-tocopherol. Twenty-four pregnant Friesian heifers were randomly allocated to one of four experimental groups in a 2 x 2 design balanced for age and body weight. Prepartum treatments consisted of supplementation with either 2 intraruminal Se pellets or 3600 mg of alpha-tocopherol po 4 times per wk, or both. Control animals received no supplementation. For 8 wk before calving, the heifers were fed exclusively on pasture hay which contained less than 10 mug/kg of Se and 19 mg/kg of alpha-tocopherol. After calving, the heifers grazed perennial ryegrass and white clover pasture. Concentrations of Se and alpha-tocopherol in serum for the prepartum heifers of the control group were 10 ng/ml and 1.3 mug/ml, respectively, indicating deficiencies of these nutrients. Treatment with Se and alpha-tocopherol increased prepartum serum concentrations of Se and alpha-tocopherol to 74 ng/ml and 5 mug/ml, respectively (P < 0.001). However, treatment with Se, alpha-tocopherol, or both, failed to enhance uterine involution, hasten resumption of postpartum ovarian activity or reduce the incidence of clinical postpartum abnormalities. These findings suggest that postpartum reproductive dysfunction is not a primary feature of moderate Se or vitamin E deficiency of cattle at pasture.

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