Pharmacokinetics of a Long-Acting Formulation of Ceftiofur (Ceftiofur Crystalline Free Acid) Administered Intramuscularly in the Ringneck Dove (Streptopelia risoria)
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2010
Marc T. Valitutto1, VMD; Alisa L. Newton1, VMD, DACVP; Bonnie L. Raphael1, DVM, DACZM; Paul P. Calle1, VMD, DACZM; Lisa A. Tell2, DVM, DABVP (Avian), DACZM
1Global Health Program, Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, NY, USA; 2School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA, USA


Ceftiofur crystalline free acid (CCFA) (EXCEDE®; Pfizer Animal Health, New York, NY) is a third generation, oil-based, cephalosporin antibiotic marketed as a once-weekly injection in cattle and swine and a two-time dose for a ten-day duration in horses.1,3-5 Long-acting antibiotic preparations are particularly useful for non-domestic species, though few have been documented in birds.2 This study evaluated the pharmacokinetics of CCFA in ringneck doves (Streptopelia risoria) as a model for other avian species. A single intramuscular injection of 50 mg/kg CCFA was administered to 30 doves. Blood was collected from six birds at each of the following times: 0, 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, 24, 48, 72, 96, 120, 144, 168, and 192 hours post injection. One additional group of six birds served as the untreated control. Birds were euthanatized at the conclusion of the study and complete postmortem and histopathologic examination of tissues was performed. Results indicate plasma concentrations remain above the minimum inhibitory concentration for most avian pathogenic bacteria (1 μg/ml)6,7 for at least 96 hours. Minimal gross pathologic changes were observed, including very mild tissue inflammation at the injection site. Based on preliminary results and histopathologic findings, a single intramuscular injection of 50 mg/kg CCFA appears to be a safe, long-acting antibiotic for ringneck doves and may be of use in other avian species.


The authors thank David Kim, the Wildlife Health Center support staff, the histopathology laboratory technicians, the Central Park Zoo staff, and the multiple veterinary students that were indispensable for the care of these birds and assistance with the study. In addition, the authors acknowledge the work by Scott Wetzlich of the University of California, School of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary Drug Residue Laboratory.

This study was reviewed and approved by the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee: Project Number 09:04.

Literature Cited

1.  Crane JP, Bryson WL, Anderson YC, Callahan JK, Portis ES, Lindeman CJ, et al. Duration of efficacy of ceftiofur crystalline free-acid sterile suspension against clinical disease in grower pigs challenged with Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae. J Swine Health Prod. 2006;14:303–306.

2.  Greth A, Gerlach H, Gerbermann H, Vassart M, Richez P. Pharmacokinetics of doxycycline after parenteral administration in the houbara bustard (Chlamydotis undulata). Avian Diseases. 1993;37:31–36.

3.  Hibbard B, Robb EJ, Chester Jr ST, Dame KJ, Boucher JF, Alaniz GR. Dose determination and confirmation of a long-acting formulation of ceftiofur (ceftiofur crystalline free acid) administered subcutaneously for the treatment of bovine respiratory disease. J Vet Pharmacol Therap. 2002;25:175–180.

4.  Hibbard B, Bryson WL, Follis SL, Robb EJ, Callahan JK, Dame KJ. Duration of therapy with EXCEDE™ or Micotil® in a bovine respiratory disease challenge model. Pfizer Animal Health Technical Bulletin. Challenge Model Study, July 2004.

5.  McClure S, Sibert GJ. EXCEDE® (ceftiofur crystalline free acid): a new sustained-release injectable antibiotic for horses. Pfizer Animal Health Technical Bulletin, February 2010.

6.  Salmon SA, Watts JL. Minimum inhibitory concentration determinations for various antimicrobial agents against 1570 bacterial isolates from turkey poults. Avian Diseases. 2000;44:85–98.

7.  Tell LA, Harrenstein L, Wetzlich S, Needham M, Nappier J, Hoffman G, et al. Pharmacokinetics of ceftiofur sodium in exotic and domestic avian species. J Vet Pharmacol Therap. 1998;21:85–91.


Speaker Information
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Marc T. Valitutto, VMD
Global Health Program
Wildlife Conservation Society
Bronx, NY, USA

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