Determination of the selenium requirement in kittens

K. J. Wedekind, K. A. Howard, R. C. Backus, S. Yu, James Morris, Quinton Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine the selenium (Se) requirement in kittens. Thirty-six specific-pathogen-free kittens (9.8 weeks old) were utilized in a randomized complete block design to determine the Se requirement in cats with gender and weight used as blocking criteria. Kittens were fed a low Se (0.02 mg/kg Se) torula yeast-based diet for 5 weeks (pre-test) after which an amino acid-based diet (0.027 mg Se/kg diet) was fed for 8 weeks (experimental period). Six levels of Se (0, 0.05, 0.075, 0.10, 0.20 and 0.30 mg Se/kg diet) as Na2SeO3 were added to the diet and were used to construct a response curve. Response variables included Se concentrations and Se-dependent glutathione peroxidase activities (GSHpx) in plasma and red blood cells (RBC) as well as plasma total T3 (TT 3) and total T4 (TT4). No significant changes in food intake, weight gain or clinical signs of Se deficiency were noted. Estimates of the kitten's Se requirement (i.e. breakpoints) were determined for RBC and plasma GSHpx (0.12 and 0.15 mg Se/kg diet, respectively), but no definitive breakpoint was determined for plasma Se. Plasma TT3 increased linearly, whereas plasma TT4 and the ratio of TT 4: TT3 decreased in a quadratic fashion to dietary Se concentration. The requirement estimate determined in this study (0.15 mg Se/kg) for kittens is in close agreement with other species. As pet foods for cats contain a high proportion of animal protein with a Se bioavailability of 30%, it is recommended that commercial diets for cats contain 0.5 mg Se/kg DM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-323
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition
Issue number9-10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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