Mineral and trace elements such as copper, cobalt, selenium and iodine are essential components in the diet to maintain health and productivity. Deficiencies can occur if soil is lacking in any of these minerals or if forage quality is poor. Deficiencies can result in ill thrift, infertility and weak calves/lambs being born. However, these clinical signs are often seen as a result of other disease processes such as liver fluke. If a deficiency is suspected, blood samples should be taken from several of the animals involved to assess if there is a need to supplement the diet. Care should be taken as over-supplementation can cause illness or death in itself. Forage analysis is also useful to allow the diet to be altered or supplemented if required.
Nutrition is an important part of herd and flock health plans. Our vets are happy to give advice on body-condition-scoring cattle and sheep and work alongside nutritionists in developing appropriate diets for your livestock.