Pasture nutrient composition aids in understanding of secondary copper deficiency in hoofstock at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Citation

Gaffney M, Galindo E, D’Amato-Anderson JL, and Fidgett A. 2021. Pasture nutrient composition aids in understanding of secondary copper deficiency in hoofstock at San Diego Zoo Safari Park. In Brooks M, Koutsos E, and Henry B Eds. Proceedings of the Fourteenth Conference on Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition, Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition Foundation and AZA Nutrition Advisory Group, Virtual.

Abstract

Copper (Cu) is an essential trace mineral for animals that is necessary for a variety of functions including metabolism, connective tissue formation, hair pigmentation, immune function, and disease resistance. There are two forms of copper deficiency: primary and secondary. Primary copper deficiency occurs when animals are fed diets deficient in copper. Secondary copper deficiency occurs when dietary copper absorption is antagonized by high dietary intake of molybdenum (Mo) and/or sulfur (S). Excess amounts of Mo, S, and sulfates in feed, forage, or water adversely affect copper absorption or metabolism. Dietary S and sulfate are reduced to sulfides in the reticulorumen (Hale & Garrigus, 1953) and then react either with dietary copper to form insoluble copper monosulfide (CuS), or with copper and molybdenum to form insoluble thiomolybdates which can interfere with the absorption and storage of copper. Secondary copper deficiency has been identified in ruminant hoofstock maintained in the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (SDZSP) open-field habitats. Many of the species at the SDZSP are observed extensively grazing pasture in the large (approx. 25 to 65 acre) habitats.

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