PHOSPHORUS (P) Deficiency
By Dr Mackie Hobson

Wednesday, 12th January 2022

PHOSPHORUS (P) Deficiency

Phosphorus deficiency in grazing goats is more likely than a calcium deficiency.


What does a Phosphorus deficiency cause?

  • Slowed growth
  • Unthrifty appearance,
  • Poor reproduction
  • Erythrocyte integrity and result in haemoglobinuria.
  • Severe deficiency can result in softening of bones, lameness and depressed appetite.

In extreme cases, animals may look to supplement their diet by consuming bones.


Why is Phosphorus (P) important?

The calcium: phosphorus ratio (Ca:P)  should be maintained between 1:1 and 2:1, preferably 1.2–1.5:1 in goats because of their predisposition for urinary calculi.

  • provides structure and strength to bones, cell walls,
  • Phosphate buffer systems.
  • Living cells use phosphate to transport cellular energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Nearly every cellular process that uses energy obtains it in the form of ATP
  • P compounds are components of DNA, RNA, and also of phospholipids, which form all cell membranes
  • Fertility
  • After calcium (Ca), P is the second major component of bone mineral;
  • P participates in the process of glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation and maintains the integrity of cellular structures


When can a P deficiency occur?

  • Phosphorus deficiency occurs in phosphorus-deficient soils, particularly in areas prone to extended dry seasons. P is derived from plant material by the goats.
  • Angora goats grazing/browzing veld usually do not require Ca or P supplementation.
  • When goats are fed, high-concentrate diets may require supplementation.
  • For ruminants, the recycling of endogenous P from saliva into the rumen may provide over half of the P required by the microorganisms.

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