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Research (Published online: 29-12-2014)

22. Selenium status in cattle herds in Wallonia (Belgium): overview and health management - Youcef Mehdi, Jean-François Cabaraux, Jean-Luc Hornick, Louis Istasse and Isabelle Dufrasne

Veterinary World, 7(12): 1144-1149



   doi: 10.14202/vetworld.2014.1144-1149



Youcef Mehdi: Nutrition Unit, Animal Production Department, Veterinary Faculty, University of Liège, Boulevard de Colonster 20, Bât. B43, 4000 Liège, Belgium;

Jean-François Cabaraux: Veterinary Ecology Unit, Animal Production Department, Veterinary Faculty, University of Liège, Boulevard de Colonster 20, Bât. B43, 4000 Liège, Belgium;

Jean-Luc Hornick: Nutrition Unit, Animal Production Department, Veterinary Faculty, University of Liège, Boulevard de Colonster 20, Bât. B43, 4000 Liège, Belgium;

Louis Istasse: Nutrition Unit, Animal Production Department, Veterinary Faculty, University of Liège, Boulevard de Colonster 20, Bât. B43, 4000 Liège, Belgium;

Isabelle Dufrasne: Nutrition Unit, Animal Production Department, Veterinary Faculty, University of Liège, Boulevard de Colonster 20, Bât. B43, 4000 Liège, Belgium;


Received: 29-07-2014, Revised: 18-11-2014, Accepted: 22-11-2014, Published online: 29-12-2014


Corresponding author: Isabelle Dufrasne, e-mail:

Aim: Monitoring was performed in order to determine the Selenium (Se) status of cattle herds in different agricultural areas in Wallonia (Belgium).

Materials and Methods: The study included 114 heifers and 184 cows (82 dairy and 102 beef cows) from 66 cattle farms situated in Wallonia. The Se status was assessed by measuring the glutathion peroxydase in red cells and converting it to the equivalent Se blood content.

Results: The average blood concentrations of Se were very low. The Ardennes region was an area where the lowest Se status was recorded. The highest levels of Se in dairy cows and beef cows were recorded respectively in the limoneuse region and Famenne areas. The Se content in beef herds was lower compared with that of dairy herds (35 vs. 56 μg/L, p<0.01).

Conclusion: On average over all the regions, 87% of animals were classified as deficient and only 13% of the animals were classified as adequate. The heifers from both dairy and beef herds in Wallonia exhibited a deficiency in Se classified as moderate to severe. The beef herds showed larger deficiencies compared with the dairy herds. Selenium deficiency can be prevented by ensuring adequate supplementation of deficient animals in Se deficient regions. An increased consumption of vitamin-mineral supplements, the use of Se-enriched fertilizers and ingredients containing high levels of Se can help to reduce or correct deficiencies recorded in cattle herds in Wallonia.

Keywords: cows, glutathione peroxidase, heifers, selenium deficiency.

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