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Injectable vs. oral mineral supplements

Lately, the question of the merits of injectable mineral supplementation has come up. Sometimes producers get conflicting information from their veterinarian vs. their feed supplier which can be very confusing. Let me take this opportunity to shed some light on this issue.

Some mistakenly think that injectable supplements can take the place of daily oral supplementation; however, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Most injectable supplements will only increase serum levels of the target minerals for a period of hours to days. They will have varying efficacy in increasing body stores of the target minerals and even these results will be relatively short-lived. Injectable organic minerals can have variable efficacy vs. orally delivered organic minerals too. Because the turnover rates of most minerals targeted for supplementation are moderately high, injectable supplements would need to be administered on a frequent, regular basis to be effective. The obvious disadvantages to this would be the added labor and animal stress related to running them through a chute to be injected. Additionally, each needle prick gives rise to possible needle site lesions and associated discounts from packers. Another point to consider is that injectable supplements do not provide essential macro-nutrients like phosphorus, magnesium, protein, etc. So for these reasons, it is essential to provide daily access to quality oral mineral supplementation.

So where do injectable mineral supplements fit? I see the greatest application for cattle that are already being worked in chutes that could benefit from additional supplementation (receiving cattle, sick pen, breeding, etc.).  These would be of greatest benefit to cattle whose appetites are depressed due to stress and/or illness that would be least likely to ingest minerals via traditional supplementation methods (barrels, blocks, loose mineral, complete feed, etc.). Injectable mineral supplements could increase serum minerals levels until their appetites increase and they are eating proper amounts of feed supplements again.

Another misconception is that if one uses injectable mineral supplements that one can back off on the fortification levels in oral supplementation and still attain the same production levels. Remember, the effects of injectable supplements are short-lived. Unless you plan to inject these animals every week, you still need to maintain fortification levels in your current oral mineral supplementation program to maintain production.

CRYSTALYX® Brand Supplements offer a wide variety of highly palatable, self-fed mineral supplements. Mineral supplementation comes in a variety of fortification levels to meet differing production needs. These are also coupled with a variety of protein, energy and medication options to provide “all-in-one” supplement options. Contact us at www.crystalyx.com for more information or to speak to a nutritionist for more specific questions.