This study was designed to investigate the plasma disposition and systemic availability of enrofloxacin (ENR) following intramuscular and intravenous administrations. Six donkeys (Equus asinus) were used in this study. The animals were allocated into two groups (intramuscular and intravenous groups). After a 2-week washout period, the experiment was repeated with the groups reversed according to a two-phase crossover design. In phase I, group I received intravenously the commercially available injectable solution of ENR at the dose of 5 mg/kg and group II received intramuscularly the same ENR formulation at the same dose rate. Blood samples were collected 1 hour prior to drug administration and various times between 5 minutes and 48 hours post-treatments. The samples were analysed by high performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detector. The half-life and mean residence time of ENR (12.08 hours and 17.85 hours) after intramuscular route were significantly longer compared with intravenous administration (9.54 hours and 7.46 hours, respectively) and these were associated with a flip-flop phenomenon. A marked proportion of ENR (20–21 per cent) was metabolised to ciprofloxacin (CPR) following both administration routes and the half-life of CPR paralleled that of the parent drug after intramuscular administration. Mean absorption time was relatively long (10.39 hours), and the bioavailability of ENR was 76.56 per cent after intramuscular route in the donkeys. The plasma concentration is lower after intramuscular administration at a dose rate of 5 mg/kg, and may need a higher dose to provide sufficient plasma concentration in donkeys compared with horses.
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