OBJECTIVE To determine the effect of age on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of flunixin meglumine following IV and transdermal administration to calves.
ANIMALS 8 healthy weaned Holstein bull calves.
PROCEDURES At 2 months of age, all calves received an injectable solution of flunixin (2.2 mg/kg, IV); then, after a 10-day washout period, calves received a topical formulation of flunixin (3.33 mg/kg, transdermally). Blood samples were collected at predetermined times before and for 48 and 72 hours, respectively, after IV and transdermal administration. At 8 months of age, the experimental protocol was repeated except calves received flunixin by the transdermal route first. Plasma flunixin concentrations were determined by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectroscopy. For each administration route, pharmacokinetic parameters were determined by noncompartmental methods and compared between the 2 ages. Plasma prostaglandin (PG) E2 concentration was determined with an ELISA. The effect of age on the percentage change in PGE2 concentration was assessed with repeated-measures analysis. The half maximal inhibitory concentration of flunixin on PGE2 concentration was determined by nonlinear regression.
RESULTS Following IV administration, the mean half-life, area under the plasma concentration-time curve, and residence time were lower and the mean clearance was higher for calves at 8 months of age than at 2 months of age. Following transdermal administration, the mean maximum plasma drug concentration was lower and the mean absorption time and residence time were higher for calves at 8 months of age than at 2 months of age. The half maximal inhibitory concentration of flunixin on PGE2 concentration at 8 months of age was significantly higher than at 2 months of age. Age was not associated with the percentage change in PGE2 concentration following IV or transdermal flunixin administration.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE In calves, the clearance of flunixin at 2 months of age was slower than that at 8 months of age following IV administration. Flunixin administration to calves may require age-related adjustments to the dose and dosing interval and an extended withdrawal interval.