The effect of parenteral supplementation of vitamin E with selenium on the health and productivity of dairy cattle in the UK

Bourne, N and Wathes, D C and Lawrence, K E and McGowan, M and Laven, R A (2008) The effect of parenteral supplementation of vitamin E with selenium on the health and productivity of dairy cattle in the UK. VETERINARY JOURNAL, 177 (3). pp. 381-387.

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Abstract

Recent work has suggested that the recommended intakes of vitamin E for dairy cattle need to be increased, particularly in dry cows. However, these suggestions are based on data from cattle in the USA, which may have significantly different oxidative stresses than European cattle. This study, which involved 594 cattle on three dairy farms, was designed to determine the effect of increased vitamin E supplementation on the health and fertility of UK dairy cows. Cattle were randomly allocated to receive either two intramuscular injections of 2100 mg of vitamin E (and 7 g of sodium selenite) 2 weeks before calving and on the day of calving, or no additional vitamin E supplementation. Although supplementation had no effect on milk yield, reproductive efficiency, or incidence of uterine infections, supplemented cattle had a lower risk of culling and a lower rate of mastitis. These figures were economically significant but not statistically significant at the 10% level. Supplementation reduced the incidence of retained fetal membranes from 6.5% to 3%, an effect which was almost significant at the 5% level. If these data are representative they suggest that vitamin E recommendations for UK cattle should be reassessed. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.