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Department of Veterinary Sciences|College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Selenium Poisoning

Selenium poisoning has been a problem in parts of the northern Great Plains and intermountain West since settlement in the 1800's.  In the past it has been localized to specific areas where horses and cattle were exposed to seleniferous forage as a result natural processes; however, more recently it has become an environmental problem as a result of increased mobilization of Se from seleniferous materials (mining wastes and seleniferous soils) by strip mine reclamation and irrigation.  The latter is especially important in that irrigation runoff is attractive to migratory waterfowl and such birds are especially sensitive to Se where it causes terata or embryonic defects.

Our studies focus on the toxicology of selenium in various species.  During the last 15 years we have elucidated the pathophysiologic process underlying the characteristic lesions of chronic selenosis, demonstrated that Se can be immunotoxic in a number of species and attempted to debunk some of the persistent myths surrounding the condition.  We are currently completing a study on the rate of uptake and excretion of L-selenomethionine from cattle, with an emphasis on edible tissues such as muscle and liver and investigating possible means to speed excretion.

Investigators: MF Raisbeck

Publications 

  • M. F. Raisbeck, D. O'Toole, E.L. Belden and J.W. Waggoner: Chronic Selenosis in Ruminants.  Chapter 77. 77:389-396.

  • M. F. Raisbeck, R.A. Schamber and E.L. Belden: Immunotoxic Effects of Selenium in Mammals.  Chapter 76. 76:260-267.

  • M. F. Raisbeck and D. O'Toole: Morphologic Studies of Selenosis in Herbivores.  Chapter 53. 53:380-388.

  • M. F. Raisbeck, E. R. Dahl, D. A. Sanchez, E. L. Belden and D. O'Toole (1993): Naturally occurring selenosis in Wyoming.  J Vet Diag Invest 5:84-87.

  • L. K. Leung, M. F. Raisbeck and K. S. Broughton (1993):  Effect of n-3 PUFA, vitamin E and iron on lipid peroxidation and nitrosation in rats.  FASEB 7:A286.

  • D. O'Toole, L. Castle, M. F. Raisbeck (1995): Comparison of histochemical autometallography (Danscher stain) to chemical analysis for selenium detection in tissues.  J Vet Diag Invest 7:281-284.

  • D. O'Toole and M. F. Raisbeck (1995): Pathology of experimentally-induced chronic selenosis ("alkali disease") in yearling cattle.  J Vet Diag Invest 7:364-373.

  • M. F. Raisbeck, D. G. Steward, L. E. Vicklund, G. F. Vance, L. K. Spackman, and J. G. Luther (1995):  Selenium and mining in the Powder River Basin, Wyoming:  Phase III - Tissue concentrations of selenium in deer mice (Peromyseus maniculatus).  pp 354-359 in Decades Later:  A Time for Reassessment (eds. Schuman and Vance) Am Soc Surf Mining Reclam, Princeton, WV.

  • M. F. Raisbeck, D. T. O'Toole, D. A. Sanchez, R. L. Simieon and J. W. Waggoner (1995):  Re-evaluation of selenium toxicity in grazing mammals.  pp. 372-383 in Decades Later:  A Time for Reassessment (eds. Schuman and Vance) Am Soc Surf Mining Reclam, Princeton, WV.

  • R. A. Schamber, E. L. Belden and M. F. Raisbeck (1995):  Selenium immunotoxicity.  pp. 384-393 in Decades Later:  A Time for Reassessment (eds. Schuman and Vance) Am Soc Surf Mining Reclam, Princeton, WV.

  • M. F. Raisbeck, D. O'Toole, R. A. Schamber, E. L. Belden, L. J. Robinson (1996):  Toxicologic effects of a high-selenium hay diet in captive adult and yearling pronghorn antelope (Antilocapra americana).  J Wildl Dis 32:9-16.

  • D. O'Toole, M. F. Raisbeck, J. Case and T. Whitson (1996):  Selenium-induced "Blind Staggers" and related myths.  A commentary on the extent of historical livestock losses attributed to selenosis on western US rangelands.  Vet Pathol, 33:104-116.

  • D. O'Toole and M. F. Raisbeck (1997):  Experimentally-induced selenosis of adult mallard ducks:  clinical signs, lesions and toxicology.  Vet Pathol. 34:330-340.

  • M. F. Raisbeck, D. O'Toole, E. L. Belden, and J. W. Waggoner (1997):  Toxicologic Evaluation of Chronic Selenosis in Wyoming Herbivores.  US-OSM Technical report.

  • M. F. Raisbeck, K. Orsted, E. L. Belden, D. A. Sanchez and R. Siemion (1998):  Interactions influencing selenium toxicity on reclaimed minelands. US-OSM Technical report.

  • K. Orsted, M. F. Raisbeck, D. Sanchez and R. Siemion (2001): Mechanisms of Selenium-induced teratogenesis and embryolethality: Oxidative stress.  Toxicologist, 60:870. (abstract)

  • R. N. Dailey, M. F. Raisbeck, R. S. Siemion T. E. Cornish and (submitted 2005): Trace elements in Sage Grouse.  J Wildlife Dis

  • M. F. Raisbeck, D. O'Toole and E. L. Belden (1997):  Selenium toxicosis.  pp. 252-255 in Curr Vet Therapy, Food Animal Pract, vol. 4 (ed. J. Howard) WB Saunders.

  • M. F. Raisbeck, M. M. McAllister and D. H. Gould (1997): Toxic Syndromes associated with sulfur.  pp. 280-281 in Curr Vet Therapy, Food Animal Pract, vol. 4 (ed. J. Howard) WB Saunders.

  • D. O'Toole and M. F. Raisbeck (1997):  Magic numbers, elusive lesions:  comparative aspects of selenium toxicosis in herbivores and waterfowl.  pp. 355-395 in:  Environmental Chemistry of Selenium (ed. Frankenberger and Engberg) Marcel Dekker.

  • M. F. Raisbeck and D. O'Toole (1998):  Morphologic Studies of Chronic Selenosis in Herbivores.  pp. 380-389 in Toxic Plants and Other Natural Toxicants (ed. Garland and Barr) pub. CAB International, London.

  • M. F. Raisbeck, R. L. Schamber and E. L. Belden (1998):  Immunotoxic Effects of Selenium in Mammals.  pp. 260-266 in Toxic Plants and Other Natural Toxicants (ed. Garland and Barr) pub. CAB International, London.

  • M. F. Raisbeck, D. O'Toole, E. L. Belden (1998):  Experimental Chronic Selenosis in Ruminants.  pp. 390-396 in Toxic Plants and Other Natural Toxicants (ed. Garland and Barr) pub. CAB International, London.

  • M. F. Raisbeck (2000):   Selenosis.  in Veterinary Clinics of North America: Food Animal Practice (ed. Osweiler and Galey).  pp. 465-481.

  • M. F. Raisbeck (2002):  Selenium toxicosis.  pp. 956-957 in 5 Minute Veterinary Consult  (ed. Brown CM and Bertone J) pub. Lippincott, Baltimore, MD.

  • M. F. Raisbeck (1999): Selenosis.  In Current Veterinary Therapy, Food Animal Practice.

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