Five captive-raised pronghorn antelope (Antilocapra americana) were fed an alfalfa-grass hay diet containing 15 ppm total dietary selenium (Se) for 164 days. Four additional captive-raised pronghorns fed a similar diet containing approximately 0.3 ppm total dietary Se served as controls. None of the pronghorns had clinical signs attributable to the high Se hay. Plasma Se increased more rapidly than blood Se concentrations, from baseline concentrations (<0.15 g/ml) to >0.40 g/ml within the first 50 days on the high selenium diet, but thereafter declined to approximately 0.30 μg/ml. Mean primary antibody response to hen egg albumin was less in pronghorn on Se hay. No significant gross or histological lesions attributable to selenosis were found, nor was there any evidence of dystrophic hoof growth. The greatest Se tissue concentrations were found in liver and kidney (5.67 to 10.4 μg/g and 2.36 to 3.14 μg/g, respectively) from experimental animals; liver and kidney from the controls contained considerably less (≤0.52 μg/g and ≤0.61 μg/g, respectively). Exposure of pronghorns for more than 5 mo to a diet containing 15 ppm Se caused significant increases in plasma, liver and kidney Se concentrations, in the absence of clinical disease or pathologic lesions due to selenosis. Based on these results, we propose that pronghorns are less susceptible to selenosis than previously reported and that diagnostic criteria for the disease should be modified.
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Vol. 32 • No. 1