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Farm animal/equine practice
Diagnosis and investigation of fluorosis in livestock and horses
  1. Chris Livesey and
  2. Jo Payne


Fluorosis (fluoride ion poisoning) can affect all mammals and birds. Acute fluorosis is rare in the UK. Mild dental fluorosis is probably quite common but will not affect production. Severe dental fluorosis and skeletal fluorosis (which requires longer-term exposure than dental fluorosis) occur close to fluorine-emitting industries. Fluorosis should be included in the differential diagnosis of dental conditions, lameness and skeletal abnormalities. Background sources of fluorides include soil, feed crops, superphosphate fertilisers and phosphate feed supplements. UK environmental hot spots include natural mineral deposits and areas close to fluorine-emitting industries. Volcanic ash also contains fluorides and small quantities of volcanic ash grounded in the UK following recent eruptions in Iceland, but monitoring in the UK confirmed that fluoride levels in grass remained within the expected background range. This article describes acute and chronic fluorosis, and discusses how to assess and manage the associated risks.

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