The pharmacokinetics of danofloxacin was investigated in rehabilitated California brown pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis californicus) after a single intramuscular injection at a dose of 15 mg/kg body weight. The concentration of the drug in plasma was assayed by high-pressure liquid chromatography. A sparse-sampling design was used to reduce the number of samples (1–4 venipunctures) obtained from 24 brown pelicans. A population pharmacokinetic analysis with nonlinear mixed-effects modeling was used to accommodate the sparse-sampling strategy. The nonlinear mixed-effects modeling approach measured both fixed effects (typical values for the population) and random effects (between-subject variability) for this population. A 1-compartment model best represented the concentration-versus-time data after injection. After injection, the elimination half-life, peak concentration, area under the curve, and volume of distribution were 2.76 hours, 2.5 µg/mL, 13.75 µg/h/mL, and 4.35 L/kg, respectively. Rate of absorption was highly variable among the birds. The intramuscular injection of danofloxacin in pelicans at this dose produced plasma concentrations that meet therapeutic targets for bacteria with a minimum inhibitory concentration of ≤0.25 µg/mL. This dose can be used for future studies to evaluate the efficacy of danofloxacin for treating susceptible bacteria.
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