copper toxicity?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by mzgarden, Nov 13, 2017 at 6:30 AM.

  1. mzgarden

    mzgarden Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,075
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2012
    Location:
    zone 5
    Background: I typically bolus our adult Nubians with Copasure (1g/22#) every 4-5 months - when they start looking rough and rusty. They were looking like this again so I bolused - and then checked my records (I know, always check records first) and I had bolused them in early August - so this time Copasure was given only 3 months apart. This made me start wondering about toxicity, especially since two does are pregnant.
    (BTW, they always have goat specific minerals free choice available to them as well.)

    Has anyone experienced toxicity using the slow release copper rods? Just wondering if I should be concerned or not.
     
  2. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

    Messages:
    30,738
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Texas Coastal Bend/S. Missouri
    Nope. No concerns. It would take much more to cause a problem.
     
    mzgarden likes this.

  3. Caprice Acres

    Caprice Acres AKA "mygoat" Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    12,561
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2005
    Location:
    MI
    Toxicity with copper is rarely acute in nature. As in, a large amount is fed and the animals become ill from it in a very short time period. Usually, it is a CHRONIC toxicity that manifests SUDDENLY. That is, animals are exposed to feed/minerals/items in the environment for a long time, and at a later time (months or longer), deaths or clinical signs occur. This can make it hard for producers to track especially when copper is coming from multiple sources or if it's being mixed in batches such as a top dress. Copper toxicity is usually exceedingly deadly as it causes an acute hemolytic event. It happens in other species as well, but is far less common and sheep are the poster child for copper toxicity. That being said, it can occur at any time after months of exposure to high levels, usually related to a stressful event such as handling, outbreak of illness, kidding/lambing etc.

    Another player in copper toxicity is Molybdenum levels. High molybdenum can cause a relative copper deficiency and vice versa. Molybdenum influences the metabolism and use of copper. Copper oxide rods are slow releasing, but copper is also stored within the body in the liver and thus circulating amount may not reflect what is stored and the risk of release and a hemolytic event. Copper oxide rods are considered SAFER, but not without risk. Copper toxicity is described in goats in the literature, but little research plus variability between farms can mean a toxic level is difficult to determine.

    Because there is no benefit to excess supplementation and MANY producers are giving copper willy-nilly in multiple forms for almost every real or perceived symptom of copper deficiency, AND many sudden deaths are NOT properly worked up by a veterinarian or pathologist... I'd be cautious of over supplementing copper too much. It is good to think about and not something to be brushed off. Sure, goats are considered safer to supplement than sheep according to what we do know, but if there is no benefit and only risks and costs associated excess unregulated supplementation, why do it to extremes? For example, looking 'rough and rusty' MAY NOT INDICATE COPPER DEFICIENCY though it is time and again the most cited reason for treating with copper. There are a plethora of other reasons this could be the case, NOT associated with copper.

    That being said, I personally treat pre-breeding, pre-kidding, and IF I deworm an animal during the interim, I will often use a multifaceted deworming protocol which includes giving another copper bolus if 3-4+ months have passed since prior bolus. This is because one of the proven benefits of copper bolusing is decrease in worm burden when coupled with an appropriate dewormer. Our mineral mix also contains some copper as well, not to mention whatever is in our feed and untested hay.
     
    mzgarden likes this.
  4. mzgarden

    mzgarden Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,075
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2012
    Location:
    zone 5
    Thanks to both of you. I feel better but will check my records before I bolus again to make sure I'm spacing this out.