OBJECTIVE To compare the plasma pharmacokinetics of tulathromycin between 3-week-old (preweaned) and 6-month-old (weaned) calves and to characterize the distribution of tulathromcyin into pulmonary epithelial lining fluid (PELF) and interstitial fluid (ISF) of preweaned and weaned calves following SC administration of a single dose (2.5 mg/kg).
ANIMALS 8 healthy 3-week-old and 8 healthy 6-month-old Holstein steers.
PROCEDURES A jugular catheter and SC ultrafiltration probe were aseptically placed in the neck of each calf before tulathromycin administration. Blood, ISF, and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid samples were collected at predetermined times before and after tulathromycin administration for quantification of drug concentration. A urea dilution method was used to estimate tulathromycin concentration in PELF from that in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Tulathromycin–plasma protein binding was determined by in vitro methods. Plasma pharmacokinetics were determined by a 2-compartment model. Pharmacokinetic parameters and drug concentrations were compared between preweaned and weaned calves.
RESULTS Clearance and volume of distribution per fraction of tulathromycin absorbed were significantly greater for weaned calves than preweaned calves. Tulathromycin–plasma protein binding was significantly greater for weaned calves than preweaned calves. Maximum PELF tulathromycin concentration was significantly greater than the maximum plasma and maximum ISF tulathromycin concentrations in both groups.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested that age affected multiple pharmacokinetic parameters of tulathromycin, likely owing to physiologic changes as calves mature from preruminants to ruminants. Knowledge of those changes may be useful in the development of studies to evaluate potential dose adjustments during treatment of calves with respiratory tract disease.