Objective-To determine the pharmacokinetics of buprenorphine hydrochloride after IM and IV administration to American kestrels (Falco sparverius). Animals-13 healthy 3-year-old captive-bred American kestrels. Procedures-Buprenorphine hydrochloride (0.6 mg/kg) was administered IM to all birds. Blood samples were collected at 9 times, ranging from 5 minutes to 9 hours after drug administration. Plasma buprenorphine concentrations were measured by use of tandem liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Pharmacokinetic parameters were determined by use of least squares linear regression and noncompartmental analysis of naïve pooled data. After a washout period of 2 weeks, the same dose of buprenorphine was administered IV to all birds and blood samples were collected at the same times after drug administration. Results-Maximum plasma buprenorphine concentration was achieved within 5 minutes after IM administration. For IM administration, bioavailability was 94.8% and elimination half-life was 92.1 minutes. For IV administration, steady-state volume of distribution was 4,023.8 mL/kg, plasma clearance was 49.2 mL/min/kg, and elimination half-life was 105.5 minutes. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance-Buprenorphine was rapidly absorbed, and bioavailability was good after IM administration to American kestrels. Plasma buprenorphine concentrations were > 1 ng/mL for 9 hours after both IM and IV administration. These results, in combination with those of a pharmacodynamic study, suggested that the analgesic effects of buprenorphine could last at least 6 to 9 hours in this species. Further investigations of the duration of analgesic effects, multiple-dose protocols, and potential adverse effects of buprenorphine are warranted in American kestrels and other raptors.
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