iodineIodine is another vital nutrient and a trace element, and although deficiencies are not as common as those caused by copper, selenium and magnesium, deficiencies can still occur in a few areas.

  • In a few inland areas and alluvial plains, soils are deficient in the trace element iodine.
  • Iodine deficiency can also be induced by feeding brassicas and clovers, which contain chemicals (goitrogens) that reduce thyroid hormones.
  • One of the main signs of deficiency is goitre - a swelling of the thyroid glands in the neck just below the throat.
  • Goats are the species most susceptible to iodine deficiency.
  • Occasionally, goitre can occur in lambs, fawns, calves and foals.
  • Apart from goitre, signs of deficiency include poor survival rates in newborn animals, reduced milk production (cows), reduced wool production (sheep), and reduced fertility (ewes and cows).
  • Diagnosis is generally based on the occurrence of these clinical signs.
  • Pregnant cows, does and ewes and young growing animals can be dosed with potassium iodide at intervals of 3 to 6 months.
  • A long-acting iodine injection is also available..
  • In lower-risk areas, providing iodised salt licks may be sufficient.
  • If your area tends to be iodine deficient, discuss supplementation options with your veterinarian.
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