Merino wether weaners were exposed to toxic lupin stubbles for periods of one, two and six to nine weeks, and the effect on their liver copper, selenium and zinc concentrations studied. After the one week period there was a slight decrease in liver copper and selenium concentrations in sheep severely affected with lupinosis. This was attributed to loss of these elements from necrotic cells, and greatly increased quantities of fat in the liver. In the same period liver zinc concentrations declined and were negatively correlated with the degree of liver injury. After two weeks or more of exposure to toxic lupins a positive correlation existed between both the liver copper and selenium concentrations, and the degree of liver injury. Furthermore, total liver copper and selenium levels were also positively correlated with the degree of liver injury. Liver zinc concentrations were negatively correlated with the degree of liver injury. It is suggested that when the liver is under the influence of the toxins causing lupinosis for more than two weeks, it stores copper and selenium, and loses zinc.
- British Veterinary Association. All rights reserved.
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