A trial was devised to assess whether the administration of selenium and cobalt together with the anthelmintic mebendazole (Ovitelmin S&C) was safe and could improve the supplies of selenium and cobalt for adult sheep fed a whole grain diet, low in both elements, which produced a steady decrease in blood glutathione peroxidase (GSHPx) and plasma vitamin B12 concentrations. Ovitelmin S&C, when given orally in a single dose as a suspension containing 0.34 mg selenium/ml, and 0.44 mg cobalt/ml (to provide 0.11 mg selenium and 0.15 mg cobalt/kg liveweight) significantly increased the GSHPx activity in blood. After a second dose given 28 days later the rate of change increased from 2.5 to 3.5 u/g haemoglobin/day. The responses in GSHPx were similar for a preparation which contained twice the concentration of selenium. Ovitelmin S&C increased the concentration of vitamin B12 in the plasma by about 1000 pg/ml for four to seven days after each dose and the increases were similar to those observed in sheep treated with an Ovitelmin preparation containing 45 times more cobalt (providing 6.7 mg cobalt/kg liveweight). After 63 days, liver vitamin B12 concentrations were 43 per cent higher in the cobalt treated than in the untreated groups (P less than 0.01) with no differences among the groups given cobalt. Neither adverse reactions nor signs of toxicity followed the administration of Ovitelmin S&C or Ovitelmin containing the higher concentrations of selenium and cobalt.
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