Sea turtles are frequently presented for rehabilitation with injuries for which analgesic treatment is warranted. Ketoprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) widely used in clinical veterinary medicine for musculoskeletal pain relief. Pharmacokinetics of 2 mg/kg IM have been studied in loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) as a single and a repeated dose q24hr for 3 days. Safety of longer term administration has not been performed, however, and NSAID use carries a risk of potential complications, including gastrointestinal ulceration, kidney damage, and bleeding. The objective of the current study was to determine the effects of a 5-day course of ketoprofen on thromboelastography (TEG) and hematological (including thrombocytes) and plasma biochemical analytes in loggerheads. A secondary objective was to determine 24-hr trough concentrations of ketoprofen after 5 days of treatment. Eight loggerheads were treated with ketoprofen 2 mg/kg IM q24hr for 5 days, and TEG, hematology, and plasma biochemistry panels were performed before and at the conclusion of treatment. Eight controls were treated with an equivalent volume of saline intramuscularly. Virtually no changes were detected before and after treatment or between treatment and control groups in any of the 24 endpoints evaluated, and marginal differences were not considered clinically relevant. Plasma ketoprofen concentrations after 5 days of treatment indicated no accumulation over that duration. Ketoprofen at 2 mg/kg IM q24hr for up to 5 days in loggerheads appears safe with respect to blood clotting and blood data, although other potential effects were not evaluated.
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