Influence of antagonistic minerals in soil and pastures on the blood and liver copper in goats in Khuzestan province, Iran

Document Type : Full paper (Original article)


Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, Ahvaz, Iran


The copper level in the serum of 1280 and liver of 200 goats raised in the mountain areas of Khuzestan
province, Iran were determined. Copper, molybdenum and iron content of soil and pastures as well as sulfur
content of the pastures were seasonally estimated. Mean serum copper levels of goats in Behbahan,
Ramhormoz, Eizeh and Masjed-Soleyman districts were 8.14 ± 0.21, 1.98 ± 0.12, 7.74 ± 0.11 and 6.97 ±
0.14 μmol/L, respectively. The results showed that the blood copper of goats in the area was significantly
(P<0.05) low in autumn and winter in comparison with spring and summer. The liver copper concentration
was low in Behbahan, Eizeh and Masjed-Soleyman and at a deficient level in Ramhormoz. The results also
revealed a high level of molybdenum in the soil and pasture as well as high amounts of sulfur in pastures of
the studied areas. In this survey the status of copper in many goat flocks around the studied towns was
dangerously low. Many liver samples had a copper concentration below 30 mg/kg and many serum copper
concentrations were below normal. The results of this study confirm the presence of a secondary copper
deficiency in goats in the mountain areas of Khuzestan province.