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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Selenium and Vitamin E Concentrations in a Healthy Donkey Population in Central Italy.

  • Author(s): Bazzano, Marilena
  • McLean, Amy
  • Tesei, Beniamino
  • Gallina, Elisa
  • Laus, Fulvio
  • et al.

Selenium and vitamin E protect the body against oxidative stress. Clinical manifestations of their deficiency in equids include neurologic and muscular symptoms. Despite the importance of donkeys as working and production animals, there is a dearth of scientific data on selenium and vitamin E normal values. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the plasma concentrations of selenium and vitamin E in healthy donkeys belonging to different ages, sexes, and productive phases. Animals were divided into five groups including foals (group A: n = 7, n = 4 males and n = 3 females), weanlings and yearlings (group B: n = 7, n = 2 males and n = 5 females), nonpregnant nonlactating jennies (group C: n = 5), pregnant nonlactating jennies (group D: n = 9), and adult males (group E: n = 9). Plasma samples obtained from each animal were tested for vitamin E and selenium concentration. One-way analysis of variance showed significant differences in selenium concentrations (P = .001) between group A and group E. In this study, we found the selenium range for donkeys to be 0.02-0.14 μg/mL, which is lower than the recommended range for horses. The results suggest that donkeys may have a lower selenium requirement than horses. Plasma vitamin E levels were 3.29-12.99 μmol/L, with foals having lower concentrations than adults. Knowing specific reference ranges for vitamin E and selenium in healthy donkeys can help improve our understanding of how to prevent deficiencies that could compromise their overall health and well-being.

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