Cadmium and selenium levels in kidneys from Danish horses

Nord Vet Med. Jan-Feb 1984;36(1-2):49-56.


The content of cadmium and selenium in horse kidneys from Jutland , Denmark, in relation to age, local geographical variation and possible relationship between the two elements has been investigated. During the winter of 1982-1983 kidneys from 50 horses were sampled and analysed for cadmium and selenium. The cadmium content of the horse kidneys was recorded in connection with the age of the horses. The cadmium level increases until the animal has reached approximately 7 years of age. At this age the cadmium concentration levels off. A significant regional difference was shown. The cadmium content is higher in horse kidneys from South and Central Jutland than in kidneys from North Jutland (Fig. 2). This geographic pattern is consistent with the one for atmospheric deposition of cadmium and cadmium content in Danish cattle kidneys from Jutland . The cadmium level in kidneys from Danish horses is considerably lower than the level in Norwegian and Swedish horse kidneys. Differences in water hardness and atmospheric deposition may explain some of this difference within Scandinavian countries. The selenium concentration shows no relationship with neither age, cadmium content nor place of rearing. So, the study did not reveal any relationship between the cadmium and selenium concentrations in horse kidneys. The high level of cadmium found in Danish horse kidneys emphasizes the importance of a prohibition against the use of the kidneys in animal and human nutrition, as proposed by others.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Cadmium / analysis*
  • Denmark
  • Horses / metabolism*
  • Kidney / analysis*
  • Norway
  • Selenium / analysis*
  • Sweden


  • Cadmium
  • Selenium