Zoologic medicine practitioners take approved agents (veterinary or human) and extrapolate their use to nonapproved species. The decision on dose, duration, and interval is often made with limited species-specific pharmacokinetic information. Because of the monetary value of these animals or their status as endangered species, this method of “trial and error” for therapeutic dosage selection is inappropriate. In zoologic medicine, various methods have been used in an attempt to extrapolate or predict safe and effective dosage regimens. The simplest and typical method of extrapolating a dosage to a nondomestic species is to use a mg/kg dose established for another domestic species or humans. However, this calculation results in a linear increase in the amount of drug administered as body weight increases. Although common, this method tends to overdose large animals and underdose small animals. The second method is similar, except that it takes the approved dose in a specific species and makes an additional assumption that links the dosage to a physiologic function or anatomic feature. Examples are the use of basal metabolic rate or body-surface area as the basis for dosage extrapolation. Allometric scaling of pharmacokinetic parameters is the final method of dosage extrapolation between species. This is commonly used in the pharmaceutical industry to establish the first dosage in human drug investigations. Adaptation of this method for zoologic medicine may enhance our ability to estimate therapeutic dosages for nondomestic species. This review discusses and compares these three methods for dosage selection and provides examples of extrapolation from the literature.
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Vol. 39 • No. 4