Reply To: Cobalt

  • Haley

    February 16, 2024 at 8:12 am

    Cobalt deficiency can mimic other issues apparently (mites, anemia, low b12 and therefore theoretically polio), thought this all is SUPER INTERESTING!

    “All ruminants (including sheep, cattle and goats) require cobalt in their diet for the synthesis of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is essential for energy metabolism and the production of red blood cells. Cobalt deficiency in soils can cause vitamin B12 deficiency in livestock.”

    “Sheep and goats appear to be more susceptible to cobalt deficiency than cattle. There is a higher incidence of signs of the disease in these species.”

    “In cattle and sheep, cobalt deficiency causes the following signs:

    • reduced appetite and ill-thrift

    • anaemia

    • scaly ears.


    • weepy eyes with damp matted wool below the eyes

    • in some cases, wool break

    • affected ewes may have small lambs.”

    “Barber’s pole worm and scour worms cause loss of protein from the gut and a reduction in feed intake. Young animals with heavy worm burdens will be more susceptible to cobalt deficiency. Avoid weaning young animals onto pastures that are likely to have a high worm burden.”

    “The following tests for cobalt deficiency are available:

    • blood tests

    • post-mortem assay

    • pasture tests

    • response test using injectable vitamin B12.”

    Unfortunately this particular article didn’t contain a lot about goats specifically, but I suspect the sheep symptoms carry over to goats. Scaly ears is interesting, and may not always be mites, especially when the buffet isn’t offered.