Species: Cattle, sheep, goats, deer, alpaca
Specimens: Serum or liver
Optimum number of animals to test for mob/herd/flock deficiency: 10 (serum) and 5 (liver).
General information about the test:
Cobalt is measured indirectly in animals by measuring vitamin B12 a cobalt containing vitamin. Order of susceptibility to cobalt deficiency (high to low) is lambs>adult sheep>calves> kids >fawns>adult goats> cattle>deer.
Serum B12 concentrations can be elevated in lambs by > 6 hours of yarding or a concurrent liver disease (eg. facial eczema). In cattle vitamin B12 analogues produced by some diets can produce sometimes markedly variable and higher than expected results in a group of cows grazing together. This does not appear to occur in sheep.
The liver is the storage organ for vitamin B12.
Reference interval (serum B12):
- Cattle – Adequate > 150 pmol/L
- Sheep – Adequate > 500 pmol/L
- Alpaca – Adequate > 70 pmol/L
- There are no reference ranges available for deer or goats.
Reference interval (liver B12):
- Cattle – Adequate > 220 pmol/kg
- Sheep – Adequate > 375 pmol/kg
- There are no reference ranges for deer, alpaca or goats.