OBJECTIVE To evaluate the thermal antinociceptive effects and pharmacokinetics of hydromorphone hydrochloride after IM administration to cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus). ANIMALS 16 healthy adult cockatiels. PROCEDURES During the first of 2 study phases, each cockatiel received each of 4 treatments (hydromorphone at doses of 0.1, 0.3, and 0.6 mg/kg and saline [0.9% NaCl] solution [0.33 mL/kg; control], IM), with a 14-day interval between treatments. For each bird, foot withdrawal to a thermal stimulus was determined following assignment of an agitation-sedation score at predetermined times before and for 6 hours after each treatment. During the second phase, a subset of 12 birds received hydromorphone (0.6 mg/kg, IM), and blood samples were collected at predetermined times for 9 hours after drug administration. Plasma hydromorphone concentration was determined by liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry. Noncompartmental analysis of sparse data was used to calculate pharmacokinetic parameters. RESULTS Thermal withdrawal response did not differ among the 4 treatment groups at any time. Agitation-sedation scores following administration of the 0.3-and 0.6-mg/kg doses of hydromorphone differed significantly from those treated with saline solution and suggested the drug had a sedative effect. Plasma hydromorphone concentrations were > 1 ng/mL for 3 to 6 hours after drug administration in all birds. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated that IM administration of hydromorphone at the evaluated doses did not increase the thermal withdrawal threshold of cockatiels despite plasma drug concentrations considered therapeutic for other species. Further research is necessary to evaluate the analgesic effects of hydromorphone in cockatiels.
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