Meloxicam is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that has been used orally and intramuscularly in numerous avian species, but not studied to date, in African penguins (Spheniscus demersus). The study describes the pharmacokinetic parameters of meloxicam after oral and intramuscular administration to African penguins. Several pilot studies were conducted initially where meloxicam (1, 0.5, and 0.25 mg/kg) was given intramuscularly to 4 birds, and orally (1 mg/kg) to 2 birds. Based on pilot study results, one group of 8 penguins was given meloxicam 0.5 mg/kg intramuscularly and one group of 8 penguins was given 1 mg/kg orally. Blood samples were collected at baseline and at 11 time intervals per group after administration of meloxicam. Meloxicam time to maximum plasma concentration (Tmax), maximum concentration (Cmax), and half-life (t1/2) after intramuscular administration were 1.00 hour, 8.03 μg/mL, and 31.87 hours, respectively, while oral administration produced a Tmax, Cmax, and t1/2 of 12.00 hours, 10.84 μg/mL, and 28.59 hours, respectively. Based on plasma meloxicam concentrations found to be therapeutic in other bird species and humans, the recommended dosage and frequency for African penguins is 1 mg/kg orally every 48 hours and 0.5 mg/kg intramuscularly every 24 hours. Further studies are needed to determine the multiple-dose pharmacokinetics of meloxicam in African penguins.
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