A review is given on the significance, availability, metabolism and application of vitamin E and selenium in sheep. Vitamin E deficiency commonly occurs in spring. Selenium deficiency occurs in certain areas where the selenium content of plants is low. A further factor is the low availability of selenium as a consequence of reduction reactions in the forestomachs. When the supply of vitamin E and selenium is suboptimal, activity of the immune system and growth are impaired.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vitamin E (VitE) and selenium (Se) are an essential part of the antioxidative functions of metabolism. There are situations of low supply of both micronutrients. As VitE is involved in ruminal biohydrogenation of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and their protection against oxidation in metabolism, diets supplemented with PUFA may challenge VitE to an extent making recommended supplies insufficient. Twelve goats and sheep each were fed a diet supplemented with PUFA and characterised by low Se and limited VitE contents during the last 2 months of gestation and the first 2 months of lactation. The basal diet consisted of hay and concentrate. Six goats and sheep received extra VitE, while the control groups received no extra VitE. Blood and milk samples were taken. In addition, liver, heart muscle and spleen samples were obtained from the offspring after slaughtering at an age of 8 weeks. No significant changes were observed in serum Se and VitE. A significant increase in serum VitE concentrations between 2 and 4 weeks postpartum (pp) was evident in the supplemented kids. In 4, 6 and 8 weeks pp, the serum concentrations of VitE in the supplemented kids were significantly higher compared to the unsupplemented group. In the kids, VitE was higher in liver of the supplemented groups. There were no significant differences in response to extra VitE between sheep and goat. The kids responded to serum VitE different from that of lambs, as a significant difference was observed between supplemented and unsupplemented animals in the goat kids, but not the lambs. In conclusion, goats and sheep have to be viewed differently and may not be considered alike relating to VitE/Se metabolism and requirements, especially in young animals.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study was conducted to evaluate the effect of mineral and antioxidant supplementation on growth, reproductive performance and physiological adaptability of heat-stressed Malpura ewes. The study was conducted for a period of 21 days in 21 adult Malpura ewes. The ewes were randomly divided into three groups with seven animals each viz. GI (control; n = 7), GII (heat stress; n = 7) and GIII (heat stress + mineral and antioxidant supplementation; n = 7). The animals were stall fed ad libitum with the diet consisting of 70% roughage and 30% concentrate. GI ewes were maintained under normal controlled condition in the shed, while GII and GIII ewes were subjected to heat stress by exposing them to 42 °C in the climatic chamber. The parameters studied were feed intake (FI), water intake (WI), body weight, body condition score (BCS), physiological, biochemical and endocrine responses. Heat stress significantly altered FI, water intake, BCS, respiration rate and rectal temperature in the afternoon, oestrus duration, estradiol, progesterone, Hb, PCV, plasma glucose, total protein, cortisol, T(3) and T(4) levels while mineral and antioxidant supplementation ameliorated this heat stress effect on the parameters studied. Further, the adverse effect of heat stress on the productive and reproductive efficiency of Malpura ewes was reduced considerably by mineral mixture and antioxidant supplementation. This is evident from the non-significant difference in BCS, oestrus duration and plasma estradiol between GI and GIII in this study. Hence, it is very pertinent to conclude from this study that mineral mixture and antioxidant supplementation were able to protect Malpura ewes against heat stress.
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