Common clinical signs of copper deficiency can include poor growth rates and de-pigmentation. It can be common in growing cattle, especially in certain geographical areas. Primary copper deficiency is caused by an absolute lack of copper in the diet, however, is more commonly caused by interactions with other minerals including molybdenum, sulphur and iron, which are antagonists.
These minerals either prevent the copper from being absorbed or disrupt copper metabolism within the animal. Copper is an essential trace element and is involved in many processes in the body, including the formation of enzymes, iron metabolism, red blood cell production and physiological functions of the central nervous system, bone metabolism and heart function.