South Waikato Veterinary Services

Home    Clinics    Farm Animal Services     Dairy Resources     Small Animal Services  

News & Articles      Newsletters      Staff       Links


Trace Elements

Trace elements refer to minerals that are only required in minute amounts – often in milligrams (mg) or less per day. While there are lots of trace elements the main three affecting production are selenium, cobalt and copper.


Selenium has a role predominantly in immune function, ranging from resistance to mastitis to decreased retained foetal membranes as well as thyroid function – the main gland responsible for metabolism. The diverse nature of its function means Selenium should be maintained at good levels throughout the year.

Selenium supplementation via a dosatron works very well at maintaining selenium levels without needing booster injections.


Cobalt is the element required by rumen microbes for the formation of Vitamin B12.  Cobalt itself is of little use to the cow hence why injectable supplementation is always in the form of Vitamin B12.

B12 is used by the cow for growth and general metabolism, in cases of deficiency cows lose their appetite, fail to grow in the case of young stock and are more affected by parasites.


Copper has roles as catalyst for many enzymes as well as being a structural component throughout the body ranging from bones and ligaments through to hair. Deficiencies in copper lead to poor growth while high levels results in toxicity with cows becoming jaundiced and dying.


Trace Elements are managed on a farm to farm basis. Whilst there are minimum requirements for the average cow, these will vary depending on the cows diet (i.e. Palm Kernel contains Copper) and in what form you are administering the supplement.

Please phone the clinic if you need more information on trace elements.

Calf scoursCalf_Scours.html
non cyclersNon_Cyclers.html
pink eyePink_Eye.html
Facial EczemaFacial_Eczema.html
Downer cowsDowner_Cows.html
Clostridial DiseasesClostridial_Diseases.html
Trace elements
mineral supplementsMineral_Supplements.html
Vitamin B1 DeficiencyVitamin_B1_Def.html