R. Bras. Zootec.. 01/Feb/2017;46(02):118-22.
Retinol and mineral status in grazing foals during the dry season
The objective of this study was to examine serum retinol and some mineral (zinc, iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and copper) levels in seven Mangalarga Marchador colts aged 329.48 days, reared on pasture in the city of Montes Claros, MG, Brazil, during the dry season. Equines were evaluated for four periods of 45 days during the total study period of five months. The foals had access to Panicum maximum cv. Tanzania pasture, while water and mineral salt lick were provided ad libitum. Blood samples were taken to determine serum retinol and levels of minerals, along with pasture samples to quantify beta-carotene in the grass. The results indicated that retinol levels varied (2.87 to 1.97 µg/dL) and remained below the standard levels. The levels of zinc, iron, calcium, and phosphorus did not vary significantly with average values of 36.79 µg/dL, 77.32 µg/dL, 10.33 mg/dL, and 9.99 mg/dL, respectively. However, zinc and calcium remained below standard concentrations of 60-120 µg/dL and 10.8-13.5 mg/dL, respectively, since the beginning of the study. On the other hand, copper and magnesium levels decreased over time (97.76 to 77.56 mg/dL and 2.86 to 2.21 µg/dL, respectively), but showed normal levels for horses during the research. Beta-carotene in grass showed a downward trend over time from 38.53 to 0.09 mg/kg of dry matter. The results also indicated a significant relationship between serum retinol and serum copper levels. Vitamin A supplementation is necessary whenever foals are fed pastures during the dry season.