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  • Author or Editor: Kate A. Gustavsen x
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Objective—To determine the pharmacokinetics of buprenorphine hydrochloride after IM and IV administration to American kestrels (Falco sparverius).

Animals—13 healthy 3-year-old captive-bred American kestrels.

Procedures—Buprenorphine hydrochloride (0.6 mg/kg) was administered IM to all birds. Blood samples were collected at 9 times, ranging from 5 minutes to 9 hours after drug administration. Plasma buprenorphine concentrations were measured by use of tandem liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry. Pharmacokinetic parameters were determined by use of least squares linear regression and noncompartmental analysis of naïve pooled data. After a washout period of 2 weeks, the same dose of buprenorphine was administered IV to all birds and blood samples were collected at the same times after drug administration.

Results—Maximum plasma buprenorphine concentration was achieved within 5 minutes after IM administration. For IM administration, bioavailability was 94.8% and elimination half-life was 92.1 minutes. For IV administration, steady-state volume of distribution was 4,023.8 mL/kg, plasma clearance was 49.2 mL/min/kg, and elimination half-life was 105.5 minutes.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Buprenorphine was rapidly absorbed, and bioavailability was good after IM administration to American kestrels. Plasma buprenorphine concentrations were > 1 ng/mL for 9 hours after both IM and IV administration. These results, in combination with those of a pharmacodynamic study, suggested that the analgesic effects of buprenorphine could last at least 6 to 9 hours in this species. Further investigations of the duration of analgesic effects, multiple-dose protocols, and potential adverse effects of buprenorphine are warranted in American kestrels and other raptors.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


OBJECTIVE To compare intraosseous pentobarbital treatment (IPT) and thoracic compression (TC) on time to circulatory arrest and an isoelectric electroencephalogram (EEG) in anesthetized passerine birds.

ANIMALS 30 wild-caught adult birds (17 house sparrows [Passer domesticus] and 13 European starlings [Sturnus vulgaris]).

PROCEDURES Birds were assigned to receive IPT or TC (n = 6/species/group). Birds were anesthetized, and carotid arterial pulses were monitored by Doppler methodology. Five subdermal braided-wire electrodes were used for EEG. Anesthetic depth was adjusted until a continuous EEG pattern was maintained, then euthanasia was performed. Times from initiation of euthanasia to cessation of carotid pulse and irreversible isoelectric EEG (indicators of death) were measured. Data (medians and first to third quartiles) were summarized and compared between groups within species. Necropsies were performed for all birds included in experiments and for another 6 birds euthanized under anesthesia by TC (4 sparrows and 1 starling) or IPT (1 sparrow).

RESULTS Median time to isoelectric EEG did not differ significantly between treatment groups for sparrows (19.0 and 6.0 seconds for TC and IPT, respectively) or starlings (88.5 and 77.5 seconds for TC and IPT, respectively). Median times to cessation of pulse were significantly shorter for TC than for IPT in sparrows (0.0 vs 18.5 seconds) and starlings (9.5 vs 151.0 seconds). On necropsy, most (14/17) birds that underwent TC had grossly visible coelomic, pericardial, or perihepatic hemorrhage.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested that TC might be an efficient euthanasia method for small birds. Digital pressure directly over the heart during TC obstructed venous return, causing rapid circulatory arrest, with rupture of the atria or vena cava in several birds. The authors propose that cardiac compression is a more accurate description than TC for this procedure.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


OBJECTIVE To determine the mydriatic effects of topical rocuronium bromide administration in Hispaniolan Amazon parrots (Amazona ventralis) and to identify any adverse effects associated with treatment.

DESIGN Randomized crossover study.

ANIMALS 8 healthy adult Hispaniolan Amazon parrots.

PROCEDURES Rocuronium bromide (20 μL/eye; 10 mg/mL) or saline (20 μL/eye; 0.9% NaCl) solution was administered in both eyes of each bird with a 26-day washout period. The birds were manually restrained in lateral recumbency with the apex of the cornea positioned upward for 2 minutes following administration in each eye. Infrared pupillometry and direct pupillary light reflex measurements were used to evaluate the mydriatic effects. Pupillary measurements were recorded prior to administration and every 20 minutes for 2 hours after administration, then hourly for a total of 7 hours. A brief physical examination was performed, direct pupillary light reflex was tested, and fluorescein staining was performed on each eye of each bird 24 hours after administration.

RESULTS A significant difference in pupillary diameter for the active versus control treatment group was noted from 20 to 360 minutes after drug administration, but not at 420 minutes. Minimal adverse effects were noted. Three birds had transient inferior eyelid paresis noted in both eyes after receiving rocuronium; 24 hours after the treatment, no differences in ocular measurements existed between the active and control treatments.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested that topical rocuronium bromide administration may be safely used for pupillary dilation in Hispaniolan Amazon parrots and could be used for clinical evaluation, fundus imaging, and surgical interventions involving the lens and posterior segment in this species.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association