Pharmacokinetics of intravenous and oral administration of enrofloxacin to the late-term pregnant and non-pregnant mares

R. E. Ellerbrock, B. R. Curcio, L. Zhong, J. Honoroto, P. Wilkins, F. S. Lima, S. Giguere, I. F. Canisso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Enrofloxacin may be an alternative antimicrobial for unresponsive cases of severe bacterial infections in pregnant mares. As pregnancy may affect drug bioavailability, distribution, metabolism and excretion, dose adjustment might be necessary. Objectives: To determine the disposition of orally and intravenously administered enrofloxacin in pregnant and non-pregnant mares. Study design: Randomised cross-over experiment. Methods: Six light-breed, healthy pregnant mares (260 days gestation) were given a single dose of either intravenous (5 mg/kg bwt) or oral compounded (7.5 mg/kg bwt) enrofloxacin, with the opposite dose administered after a 7-day washout. The protocol was repeated 45–60 days post-partum, 15–30 days after foals were weaned. Plasma samples were obtained via venepuncture at 0, 5, 10, 20, 30, 45, 60, 90 min, and 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12, 24, 36, 48 and 72 h after enrofloxacin administration. Enrofloxacin and ciprofloxacin concentrations were measured by LC-MS/MS. Concentration versus time data were analysed based on non-compartmental pharmacokinetics. Results: Enrofloxacin AUC0–∞ was significantly higher in pregnant mares than non-pregnant mares after PO administration and tended to be higher after i.v. administration. Ciprofloxacin maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) and concentration at 24 h (C24h) were higher, and half-life of the terminal phase (t½λz) was longer in pregnant mares than non-pregnant mares after oral administration. Similarly, ciprofloxacin C24h was higher in pregnant mares with intravenous administration. Oral bioavailability did not differ based on pregnancy status. Main limitations: Only six healthy light breed mares were assessed. Disease or horse breed may affect the endpoints evaluated. A lack of established enrofloxacin AUC/MIC targets for equine pathogens limits pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic conclusions. Conclusions: The oral form of enrofloxacin was well absorbed, and oral bioavailability was comparable to previous studies. While differences in enrofloxacin and ciprofloxacin pharmacokinetics were seen between pregnant and non-pregnant mares, the recommended drug dose and dose intervals are appropriate for MIC <0.25 µg/mL. Dosages may need to be adjusted for bacteria with a MIC >0.25 µg/mL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)464-470
Number of pages7
JournalEquine veterinary journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2020


  • LC-MS/MS
  • ciprofloxacin
  • fluoroquinolone
  • horse
  • pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Equine


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