Postoperative antinociception control in fish is currently suboptimal, as commonly used antiinflammatory drugs last for only a few hours at tested temperatures. Therefore, long-acting anti-inflammatory drugs, such as robenacoxib, could improve the welfare of fish. The pharmacokinetics, duration of antinociceptive action, and potential adverse effects of robenacoxib were evaluated through two prospective randomized blinded trials in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Six healthy rainbow trout received a single IM administration of robenacoxib (2 mg/kg), and two control fish received the same volume of saline IM. Blood samples were collected at predetermined time points for 5 d. Plasma robenacoxib concentrations were measured using high-performance liquid chromatography–high-resolution hybrid orbitrap mass spectrometry and noncompartmental pharmacokinetic analysis. Ten additional rainbow trout received an intralabial injection of 0.05 ml of 2% acetic acid following a previously validated nociceptive model. The treated group (n = 6) received 2 mg/kg of robenacoxib IM and the control group (n = 4) received an equivalent volume of saline IM. The behavior, appetite, and opercular rate of the fish were evaluated every hour for 5 h, then once daily for 3 d. All 12 treated trout and 6 controls underwent histopathologic evaluation. Average maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) was 329.9 ± 137.3 ng/ml observed at 2.1 ± 0.7 h (Tmax) and terminal half-life was 12.6 ± 2.27 h. Plasma concentrations described as antinociceptive in domestic carnivores were measured for 3–4 d. This dose was associated with a significant decrease in rocking behavior (P = 0.017). No adverse effects were detected clinically nor on histopathology. Robenacoxib administered IM at 2 mg/kg appears to be safe and may provide an antinociceptive effect in rainbow trout. This study presents a new therapeutic option to provide long-lasting antinociception in rainbow trout.
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