The development of cobalt deficiency was studied in 30 Scottish Blackface lambs grazing pasture on a soil containing 0-17 ppm cobalt. By the end of an eight-week period 50 per cent of lambs were subjectively appraised as showing signs of cobalt deficiency. After a further period lasting four weeks, during which three groups of lambs were studied (one group, least affected by cobalt deficiency, acted as control, the second received a single cobalt bullet and the third received oral doses of 200 mg cobalt chloride at the beginning of the period and three weeks later). Mean urinary formiminoglutamic acid (FIGLU) concentrations were inversely related to serum vitamin B12 concentrations and increased from 0-08 to 0-20 mumole per ml in group 1, and decreased to virtually zero within one week of treatment in groups 2 and 3. The use of serum vitamin B12 and urinary FIGLU concentrations in the diagnosis of cobalt deficiency in sheep are discussed.
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