Experimental copper deficiency, chromium deficiency and additional molybdenum supplementation in goats--pathological findings

Acta Vet Scand. 2001;42(3):311-21. doi: 10.1186/1751-0147-42-311.


Secondary copper (Cu) deficiency, chromium (Cr) deficiency and molybdenosis (Mo) has been suggested to cause the "mysterious" moose disease in the southwest of Sweden. The present experiment was performed on goats to investigate the clinical, chemical, and pathological alterations after 20 months feeding of a semi-synthetic diet deficient in Cu and Cr. Four groups were included in the study: control group (n = 4), Cu-deficient group (group 1, n = 4), Cr-deficient group (group 2, n = 2) and Cu + Cr-deficient group (group 3, n = 3). Group 3 was additionally supplemented with tetrathiomolybdate during the last 2 months of the experiment. Main histopathological findings in groups 1 and 3 were the lesions in the liver, characterised by a severe active fibrosis, bile duct proliferation, haemosiderosis and mild necroses. Additionally, degenerative alterations of the exocrine pancreas were prominent in groups 1 and 3. Lesions in group 3 were more pronounced than in group 1. In group 3, the skin showed an atrophic dermatosis, while in group 2 a crusty dermatitis caused by Candida spp. was observed. This study shows that liver, pancreas and skin are mainly affected by a long term deficiency of copper and the findings are complicated by molybdenum application while chromium deficiency produced no histomorphological effects in our study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromium / administration & dosage
  • Chromium / deficiency*
  • Copper / administration & dosage
  • Copper / deficiency*
  • Goat Diseases / chemically induced
  • Goat Diseases / pathology*
  • Goats
  • Immunohistochemistry / veterinary
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Molybdenum / administration & dosage*
  • Pancreas / pathology
  • Skin / pathology


  • Chromium
  • Copper
  • Molybdenum