Plasma, urine and tissue concentrations of Flunixin and Meloxicam in Pigs. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: The objective of this study was to determine the renal clearance of flunixin and meloxicam in pigs and compare plasma and urine concentrations and tissue residues. Urine clearance is important for livestock show animals where urine is routinely tested for these drugs. Fourteen Yorkshire/Landrace cross pigs were housed in individual metabolism cages to facilitate urine collection. This is a unique feature of this study compared to other reports. Animals received either 2.2mg/kg flunixin or 0.4mg/kg meloxicam via intramuscular injection and samples analyzed by mass spectrometry. Pigs were euthanized when drugs were no longer detected in urine and liver and kidneys were collected to quantify residues. RESULTS: Drug levels in urine reached peak concentrations between 4 and 8h post-dose for both flunixin and meloxicam. Flunixin urine concentrations were higher than maximum levels in plasma. Urine concentrations for flunixin and meloxicam were last detected above the limit of quantification at 120h and 48h, respectively. The renal clearance of flunixin and meloxicam was 4.722.98mL/h/kg and 0.160.04mL/h/kg, respectively. Mean apparent elimination half-life in plasma was 5.001.89h and 3.221.52h for flunixin and meloxicam, respectively. Six of seven pigs had detectable liver concentrations of flunixin (range 0.0001-0.0012g/g) following negative urine samples at 96 and 168h, however all samples at 168h were below the FDA tolerance level (0.03g/g). Meloxicam was detected in a single liver sample (0.0054g/g) at 72h but was below the EU MRL (0.065g/g). CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that pigs given a single intramuscular dose of meloxicam at 0.4mg/kg or flunixin at 2.2mg/kg are likely to have detectable levels of the parent drug in urine up to 2 days and 5 days, respectively, after the first dose, but unlikely to have tissue residues above the US FDA tolerance or EU MRL following negative urine testing. This information will assist veterinarians in the therapeutic use of these drugs prior to livestock shows and also inform livestock show authorities involved in testing for these substances.

published proceedings

  • BMC Vet Res

altmetric score

  • 3.6

author list (cited authors)

  • Nixon, E., Mays, T. P., Routh, P. A., Yeatts, J. L., Fajt, V. R., Hairgrove, T., & Baynes, R. E.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Nixon, Emma||Mays, Travis P||Routh, Patricia A||Yeatts, James L||Fajt, Virginia R||Hairgrove, Thomas||Baynes, Ronald E

publication date

  • January 2020