A population approach was used to evaluate the pharmacokinetic parameters of 3 fluoroquinolones administered to Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica). Healthy adult quail (n = 50) were divided into 3 groups, each administered a separate intravenous and oral dose of the compounded drug: enrofloxacin at 10 mg/kg (n = 18; 9 male, 9 female), danofloxacin at 10 mg/kg (n = 12; 6 male, 6 female), and marbofloxacin at 5 mg/kg (n = 20; 10 male, 10 female). A fourth group was used as a control (n = 5). Enrofloxacin was metabolized extensively to ciprofloxacin, while no metabolites of either danofloxacin or marbofloxacin were detected. The volume of distribution was high, greater than 1 in all cases, and highest for danofloxacin, followed by enrofloxacin, then marbofloxacin. The total body clearance was higher in quail than that reported for other avian species with the exception of ostriches. As in mammals, the lowest clearance rate of the 3 fluoroquinolones was observed for marbofloxacin. Enrofloxacin was absorbed most rapidly, followed by marbofloxacin, then danofloxacin. The highest bioavailability was observed for danofloxacin followed by marbofloxacin, while very low bioavailability with significant conversion to ciprofloxacin was observed for enrofloxacin. Population analysis showed low intersubject variability for danofloxacin and marbofloxacin in contrast to that for enrofloxacin and its main metabolite, ciprofloxacin. Because of their more favorable pharmacokinetic properties after oral administration, either danofloxacin or marbofloxacin appears to be preferable to enrofloxacin for the treatment of susceptible bacterial infection in Japanese quail.
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