Miller, K. A., Hill, N. J., Carrasco, S. E. et al. 2019. Pharmacokinetics and safety of intramuscular meloxicam in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). JAALAS 58(5), 589–593.

Meloxicam is the most frequently used NSAID in birds; however, its elimination t1/2 is highly variable among species. Because zebra finches that require analgesia could benefit from receiving meloxicam, we performed a pharmacokinetic study involving a single intramuscular dose of 1 or 2 mg/kg. Data analysis showed that Cmax, t1/2, and elimination rate constants were not significantly different between the 2 doses. In contrast, Cmax for 1- and 2-mg/kg doses of meloxicam approached a significant difference, and those for AUC0-∞ were significantly different. Importantly, a plasma concentration of 3500 ng/mL, considered a target level for meloxicam in other avian species, was maintained for approximately 9.5 h in finches that received 2 mg/kg, which was 4 h longer than in birds given 1 mg/kg. Both doses reached low plasma concentrations by 12 h after administration. Subsequently, 8 total doses of 1 or 2 mg/kg were administered to birds at 12-h intervals; these regimens caused no significant changes in select biochemical analytes or the Hct of meloxicam-treated birds. In addition, histopathologic changes for injection sites, kidney, liver, proventriculus, and ventriculus were minimal and similar between control and experimental groups after the multiple doses. These results suggest a 12-h or more frequent dosing interval is likely needed in zebra finches and that meloxicam at 1 or 2 mg/kg IM twice daily for 4 d is safe. The higher dose might provide longer analgesia compared with the lower dose, but a pharmacodynamics evaluation of meloxicam in zebra finches is needed to confirm analgesic efficacy.

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