Effect of source of supplemental selenium on uterine health and embryo quality in high-producing dairy cows

Ronaldo L. A. Cerri, University of California
Heloisa M. Rutigliano, Utah State University
F. S. Lima, University of California
D. B. Araújo, University of Florida
José E. P. Santos, University of Florida


Lactating Holstein cows (n=135) were randomly assigned to one of the two sources of supplemental selenium (Se), sodium selenite (SS) or Se yeast (SY), fed at 0.3mg/kg diet dry matter from 25 d before calving to 70 d in milk (DIM), in diets not suboptimal in basal Se concentrations. Cows were evaluated for health daily in the first 10 DIM, and uterine cytology of the previously gravid uterine horn was assessed at 30 DIM. The Ovsynch protocol was initiated at 42 DIM; ovarian responses to hormonal treatments were evaluated by ultrasonography. The uteri of cows were flushed 6d after timed AI for collection of embryos and oocytes. Plasma concentrations of Se and progesterone were measured throughout the postpartum period and during the reproductive protocol, respectively, and plasma glutathione peroxidase activity was determined 6d after AI. Concentrations of Se in pre- and postpartum diets ranged from 0.43 to 0.56 mg/kg of dry matter. Incidence of retained placenta, fever, ketosis, mastitis, acute puerperal metritis, clinical endometritis, and subclinical endometritis were not significantly different between treatments. There were no differences between groups in concentrations of Se and progesterone or glutathione peroxidase activity in plasma. Treatment did not influence ovarian responses to the synchronization protocol, fertilization rate, number of blastomeres and live blastomeres, or proportions of grades 1 and 2, degenerated, and degenerated-unfertilized embryos/oocytes. Odds of subclinical endometritis on Day 30 postpartum more than doubled in cows with fever of unknown origin or acute puerperal metritis in the first 10 DIM. Fertilization rate tended to be reduced in cows with subclinical endometritis. In summary, replacing SS with an organic source of Se in diets not suboptimal in basal Se concentrations did not improve Se status, uterine health, fertilization, or embryo quality in early lactation dairy cows.