A clinical dose rate (4.4 mg/kg bodyweight) of phenylbutazone was administered intravenously and orally to six Welsh mountain ponies to provide data on the pharmacokinetics and bioavailability of the drug. In three, three-year-old ponies, clearance of the drug from plasma after intravenous administration was almost twice as rapid as in three ponies aged eight to 10 years. After oral administration, plasma phenylbutazone levels were greater in the older ponies, the area under the plasma concentration time curve being almost twice as high. This did not result from more efficient absorption but from slower plasma clearance. The fractional absorption of phenylbutazone was similar in young and older ponies, 0.78 and 0.75, respectively. The 24 hour urinary excretion of phenylbutazone and its hydroxylated metabolites, oxyphenbutazone and gamma-hydroxyphenylbutazone, accounted for approximately 25 per cent of the administered intravenous dose in both young and older ponies. The possible fate(s) of the remaining 75 per cent were considered.
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