The objective of this study was to investigate the pharmacokinetics of meloxicam in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Ten adult bottlenose dolphins were used for the study. Each animal received a single oral dose of meloxicam at 0.1 mg/kg. Two to seven serial blood samples were collected per animal, at one of fourteen time points between T = 0 and T = 240 hr. Complete blood count and serum chemistry analysis were performed prior to drug administration, as well as at the final time point for each individual. Plasma drug concentrations were determined by high-pressure liquid chromatography. No adverse hematological, biochemical or clinical changes were noted during the study period. After oral administration, a peak plasma concentration of 1.03 μg/mL was achieved at approximately 11 hr. This suggests that a single oral dose of 0.1 mg/kg provides a peak plasma level similar to what is considered therapeutic in other species. However, the elimination of meloxicam in cetaceans was slower than in other species, with an elimination half-life of almost 70 hr, and detectable drug concentrations up to 7 days. A single oral dose of 0.1 mg/kg appears safe for use in this species, but caution in repeated dosing must be used, due to the prolonged elimination, until multi-dose pharmacokinetic studies are determined.
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