The aim of this study was to evaluate the dose-dependent effects of a hydroxy-analog of selenomethionine (HMSeBA) on rumen fermentation, apparent nutrient digestibility, and total selenium absorption in mid-lactation dairy cows, and to compare the effects with those of sodium selenite (SS). Fifty mid-lactation dairy cows with similar milk yields, days in milk, and parity were randomly assigned to 1 of 5 treatments according to a randomized complete block design. The cows were fed a basal diet containing 0.06 mg/kg dry matter (DM) of Se (control) or the same basal diet supplemented with SS, yielding 0.3 mg of Se/kg of DM (SS-0.3), or HMSeBA, yielding 0.1, 0.3, or 0.5 mg of Se/kg of DM (SO-0.1, SO-0.3, and SO-0.5, respectively), during the experimental period. The final content of Se in control, SS-0.3, SO-0.1, SO-0.3, and SO-0.5 was 0.06, 0.34, 0.15, 0.33, and 0.52 mg of Se/kg of DM. The experiment lasted for 10 wk, with a pretrial period of 2 wk. Supplementation with HMSeBA altered rumen fermentation by linearly increasing total volatile fatty acids and the molar proportions of propionate and butyrate but decreasing rumen pH, ammonia content, and the ratio of acetate to propionate. Compared with SS, HMSeBA enhanced the molar proportion of propionate in the rumen and the apparent digestibility of crude protein, neutral detergent fiber, acid detergent fiber, and selenium. We demonstrated that HMSeBA promoted rumen fermentation, apparent nutrient digestibility, and selenium absorption, implying that HMSeBA has a greater apparent absorption than SS.