Policy: Selenium

Policy type: Policy
Reference: 2f
Status: Current
Date ratified: May 2018


Selenium animal remedies should be recommended, authorised or dispensed according to established need and veterinarians should properly, and within reason, manage the risks associated with authorising/dispensing such products


Selenium is an essential trace element but can be toxic if used in excess. The therapeutic index for selenised animal remedies is low and there are risks associated with the use of these products. There is a range of selenium supplementation options and products available and poisoning associated with the use of selenium products will always have the potential to occur.

Pure selenium compounds (i.e. those containing selenium above a specific concentration) are only available from veterinarians.


  1. Veterinarians should make every effort to ensure clients understand the selenium requirements of their livestock and options for meeting them, so that clients can make informed decisions.
  2. Veterinarians need to be aware of the ACVM requirements regarding compounding, and should be aware of selenium supplementation product options that are available.
  3. Veterinarians should have sufficient knowledge of the natural soil selenium levels and the type of pasture/forage on clients’ farms to assist making informed recommendations on supplementation.
  4. Appropriate laboratory tests (e.g. liver and blood samples) to ascertain the status of a farm and its animals should be undertaken to monitor effectiveness of supplementation.
  5. Veterinarians should advise that the concurrent use of other selenised products may be hazardous and may cause poisoning (e.g. if selenium is also added in fertiliser).
  6. If selenium is added, veterinarians should ensure correct addition rates and ensure correct advice is given for mixing and for use. This should be in writing.
  7. The selenium status of the property and of any animals, and any dispensing of selenium products should be recorded for each client’s property.

Related pages and resources