Selenium is an essential trace nutrient that is present in the soil. In goats, this mineral is responsible for brain and thyroid health, muscle development and reproductive health.
Because this nutrient is available in the soil, goats kept in smaller pastures and fed mostly hay are at a higher risk for selenium deficiency.
How to Identify Selenium Deficiency in Goats
The first step to identifying a deficiency is to see if your soil is deficient in selenium. You can find a map to see your general soil amounts here: Selenium Map.
You can also contact your local extension agent and ask about selenium levels. Soil levels under .5 ppm are considered deficient.
Selenium Deficiency in Goat Kids
Selenium deficiency in kids is most commonly seen as white muscle disease. The muscles in their legs are too weak to support their weight and they end up unable to walk or walking on their ankles. Other symptoms of selenium deficient kids are:
- Being too weak to suckle
- Coughing/aspirating milk
- weak immune system and development of pneumonia due to weak lungs
The main thing to remember is, that if you have a kid born who is weak and unable to stand- especially if their ankles are bending back- then you are dealing with selenium/vitamin E deficiency and they need treatment immediately and help eating until they are strong enough to stand on their own.
Selenium Deficiency in Adult Goats
Selenium deficiency in adult goats is most commonly seen in reproductive problems. This means that they:
- Have poor conception rates
- Experience abortions, stillbirths, and miscarriages
- Retained placentas
- Deliver weak, selenium deficient kids
How to Treat Selenium Deficiency in Goats
As part of your normal feeding schedule, you should always have loose minerals available to your goats. This will help in prevention of a lot of deficiency. If you live in a selenium deficient area you will need to supplement selenium throughout the year to keep your goats at a good level of this nutrient.
If you live in a selenium deficient area, you should keep a bottle of BoSe on hand to treat deficient goats. We give ours a shot of BoSe at the beginning of every breeding season, to help with conception, pregnancy and delivery of healthy kids. We also use this product to treat any kids born deficient and they are usually back on their feet within a day. BoSe is available by prescription only, so talk to your vet.
Our area is severely deficient, so we also dose our herd orally with a Selenium/Vitamin E gel every 3-4 months as well. I keep track of this in my goat management binder so that I don’t forget to give them their supplements.
The tricky part comes with dosing correctly. Goats need selenium in the amount of .2 ppm. The toxic level of selenium is 3 ppm. Unfortunately, selenium toxicity often has many of the same symptoms of deficiency. States with high selenium levels in their soil need to be careful dosing their goats with selenium-containing products.
Use the following doses on Selenium deficient goats:
2.5 cc per 100 lbs for adults
.5 cc for standard sized kids
.25 cc for miniature kids
BoSe is injected subcutaneously
Selenium/ Vitamin E Gel:
4 mL for adults
2 mL for kids
Follow the directions on the tube of the product you have, as some differences may exist.
Treatment of kids quickly is important- don’t assume that their legs just need straightening after being in utero. Waiting to treat them can cause their mother to reject them, poor growth, and not being able to nurse when they need to. Check out my Busy Homesteader’s Goat Management Binder for information on how to efficiently care for your goats- so that things like selenium deficiency won’t creep up on you!
I’m having an issue w my yearling goats they are losing weight and seem to have trouble using there back legs and then it leads to the front legs are doing the same and they will end up walking in front knees, there not anemic they will fall and not be able to rise unless I help. I’ve lost 4 due to this, I thought selenium def so I bought Bose from vet and injected, showed improvement for about 2 weeks And then symptoms came back did a 2 week booster hoping it works. U have any help or ideas?
Have you tested for CAE?
If I give our goats the Selenium/Vit. E Gel every 3 months, is it necessary to inject them with BoSe as well..?
Disbudded 4 baby goats yesterday ranging in age 5 to 8 days old. Gave 1/2 cc Bo Se on or one day after born as we are a Sel. deficient area. 2 of the babies today are acting weak and wabbly. Temp.s were 104 and 103.1. Gave a 1/4 cc of vit. B , Sub Q another 1/4 cc Bo Se Sub Qand 2 pumps of goat vitamen (orally). Any Suggestions. Will check them again in 2 hours to see if any improvement.
Here’s an interesting case, that I wonder if you could shed light on? We had a normal 3 or 4 month old male kid, who had diarrhea, probably coccidiosis, and became really weak. I found him lying down, unable to get up, with his neck bent back on his abdomen. I gave him electrolyte, milk, anything he’d eat (mix, leaves etc) and lots of water. Plus broad spec antibiotics and tons of vitamins. It took almost 4 weeks, but little by little, he went from totally paralysed to walking carefully. 4 months later, he’s normal. Any ideas what was going on??
I’d probably go with something like Listeria or Goat Polio. Antibiotics would have helped with listeriosis and if you gave vitamin B injections that would have helped the polio…
Can I give of Bose after my girls have been bred?
Hi my 2yr old goat which was very healthy good body weight aborted her babies 1-2 months ago. She recovered nicely, passing her Placentia. About 2 weeks later I noticed she was dragging her back leg. I noticed nothing else, she got over it and I assumed she jumped and hurt her leg.
Last night when I did my feeding I noticed her dragging her back leg again. and later I noticed her standing hump in the back (like shes in pain) and she seems very ridged
I have looked up listerellosis and she has some symptoms but also has symptoms of tentuis. Kinda at a loss
Having same symptoms with my sheep and goats back leggs weak what can I do gave antibiotics and selenium