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Analysis in Horse Hair as a Means of Evaluating Selenium Toxicoses and Long-Term Exposures

T. Zane Davis, Bryan L. Stegelmeier, Jeffrey O. Hall
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2014 v.62 no.30 pp. 7393-7397
forage, grazing, hooves, horses, mass spectrometry, pastures, selenium, selenosis, tail
Horses are very susceptible to chronic selenosis if grazed on seleniferous forages for a prolonged period. In this study, mane and tail samples from horses that exhibited classical hoof lesions of chronic selenosis were analyzed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry for selenium (Se) content. The horses had grazed for 6 months, from approximately May 15 until November 15, each year for three grazing seasons in a pasture containing seleniferous forages and water sources with elevated Se concentrations. The segmented hair samples showed a cyclic pattern in Se concentrations in the mane and tail, which corresponded to entering and exiting the contaminated pasture. The Se concentration in the tail of one horse could be traced for three grazing seasons. These results demonstrate that in some cases hair samples can be used to determine Se exposure in horses for up to 3 years postexposure.