A Case Study 

One of our ABC consultants called me the other day with a problem. One of his client’s buffalos had died. The Vet did some blood work and reported low iron, copper and selenium levels. 

The entire herd - over 100 head - was on the cafeteria style mineral program . The customer wanted to know which of our products to add to overcome these deficiencies. 

Whoa! Back up the truck. Blood analysis from one animal that died of unknown causes is not a good reason to change the mineral program.


Many disease conditions, not necessarily related to mineral consumption, can cause aberrations in​ blood mineral levels. I’m skeptical of the value of a single blood analysis to gauge mineral levels.  A blood test is like a ‘snapshot picture’; it shows only the immediate, transient situation. Hair analysis gives a better  indication of mineral balance over  a period of time. 

The first priority in this case would be do get an accurate diagnosis of the cause of death.  I doubt the animal died of a mineral deficiency, as the rest of the herd appeared healthy. Iron deficiency is rare in animals.  In fact, many minerals contain an excess of iron, which ties up copper. cobalt, manganese and zinc.  High iron in the water can also be a problem.

 There appears to be some issues with their water.  The owner reported the animals preferred rainwater out of puddles to the well water.  Excesses of some minerals in the water could tie up other minerals. 

It would be interesting to know if they were feeding other mineral products and if the minerals were always available to all animals or if some were consumed and not replenished in a timely manner - especially Copper and Selenium.

I don’t know how all this will evolve until all the facts are assembled, which may not ever happen.  However, the situation does point out that  we should not only “see everything we look at,” (previous blog post), but we need to look beyond the obvious for solutions.