Objective: To determine the disposition of a bolus of meloxicam (administered IV) in horses and donkeys (Equus asinus) and compare the relative pharmacokinetic variables between the species.
Animals: 5 clinically normal horses and 5 clinically normal donkeys.
Procedures: Blood samples were collected before and after IV administration of a bolus of meloxicam (0.6 mg/kg). Serum meloxicam concentrations were determined in triplicate via high-performance liquid chromatography. The serum concentration-time curve for each horse and donkey was analyzed separately to estimate standard noncompartmental pharmacokinetic variables.
Results: In horses and donkeys, mean +/- SD area under the curve was 18.8 +/- 7.31 microg/mL/h and 4.6 +/- 2.55 microg/mL/h, respectively; mean residence time (MRT) was 9.6 +/- 9.24 hours and 0.6 +/- 0.36 hours, respectively. Total body clearance (CL(T)) was 34.7 +/- 9.21 mL/kg/h in horses and 187.9 +/- 147.26 mL/kg/h in donkeys. Volume of distribution at steady state (VD(SS)) was 270 +/- 160.5 mL/kg in horses and 93.2 +/- 33.74 mL/kg in donkeys. All values, except VD(SS), were significantly different between donkeys and horses.
Conclusions and clinical relevance: The small VD(SS) of meloxicam in horses and donkeys (attributed to high protein binding) was similar to values determined for other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Compared with other species, horses had a much shorter MRT and greater CL(T) for meloxicam, indicating a rapid elimination of the drug from plasma; the even shorter MRT and greater CL(T) of meloxicam in donkeys, compared with horses, may make the use of the drug in this species impractical.