Pharmacokinetics of Subcutaneous versus Intramuscular Administration of Ceftiofur Crystalline-Free Acid in Inland Bearded Dragons (Pogona vitticeps)
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2013
Sarah M. Churgin1, DVM; Kari Musgrave1, BA; Sherry Cox2, PhD; Kurt Sladky1, DVM, DACZM
1Department of Surgical Sciences, Special Species Health Service, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA; 2Department of Biomedical and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA


The objective of this study was to evaluate the pharmacokinetics of ceftiofur crystalline-free acid (CCFA),a the long-acting formulation of ceftiofur, after subcutaneous (SC) and intramuscular (IM) administration in bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps, n=6). Ceftiofur is a third-generation cephalosporin with broad-spectrum bactericidal activity.2 A recent study of CCFA in ball pythons (Python regius) yielded promising results, but concluded that a higher dosage than was tested (15 mg/kg IM) might be more effective.1 In the current study, each bearded dragon received a single dose of 30 mg/kg CCFA IM or SC; the experiment was then repeated after a 28-day wash-out period using the opposite route of administration for each animal in a complete crossover design. Blood samples were collected from each animal during each phase of the experiment at the following times: 0, 4, 12, 24, 48, 72, 120, 144, 192, and 288 h post-injection. A target minimum-inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 1 μg/mL was selected based on previous MIC research of common bacterial isolates in turkey poults.3 Results indicate that both routes of administration achieved plasma levels of ceftiofur equivalents above 1 μg/mL by 4 h post-administration in all animals and remained above that target for at least 288 h (12 days) on average. No negative effects were observed. The subcutaneous route of administration was preferred due to ease of administration. A single administration of CCFA at 30 mg/kg SC appears to be a safe long-acting antibiotic in bearded dragons.


a. EXCEDE®, Zoetis, Madison, NJ, USA.


This project was supported by the University of Wisconsin - School of Veterinary Medicine’s Companion Animal Fund.

Literature Cited

1.  Adkesson M.J., E. Fernandez-Varon, S. Cox, and T. Martin-Jimenez. 2011. Pharmacokinetics of a long-acting ceftiofur formulation (ceftiofur crystalline free acid) in the ball python (Python regius). J. Zoo Wildl. Med. 42:444–450.

2.  Brown S.A., R. Yancy, and J. Stefan. 1991. Ceftiofur sodium: antimicrobial activity of parent ceftiofur and metabolites. Acta Vet. Scand. 87(suppl):95–97.

3.  Salmon S.A., and J. L. Watts. 2000. Minimum inhibitory concentration determinations for various antimicrobial agents against 1570 bacterial isolates from turkey poults. Avian Dis. 44:85-98.


Speaker Information
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Sarah M. Churgin, DVM
Department of Surgical Sciences, Special Species Health Service
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI, USA

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