Plasma concentrations of chloramphenicol after subcutaneous administration to koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) with chlamydiosis
M. GOVENDIR*, J. HANGER†, J. J. LOADER†, B. KIMBLE*, J. E. GRIFFITH*, L. A. BLACK*, M. B. KROCKENBERGER* &, D. P. HIGGINS*
*Faculty of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney, NSW
†Australia Zoo, Wildlife Warriors Worldwide Ltd, Beerwah, QLD, Australia
Nine mature koalas with chlamydiosis, typically keratoconjunctivitis and⁄or urogenital tract infection, were treated with daily subcutaneous injections of chloramphenicol at 60 mg⁄kg for 45 days (five koalas), or for a shorter duration (four koalas). All koalas were initially positive for Chlamydia pecorum as determined by real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Plasma chloramphenicol concentrations were determined at t = 0, 1, 2, 4, 8, and 24 h after the day 1 injection (nine koalas) and after the day 15 injection (seven koalas). Chloramphenicol reached a median (and range) maximum plasma concentration of 3.03 (1.32– 5.03 μg ⁄ mL) at 4 (1–8 h) after the day 1 injection and 4.82 (1.97–27.55 μg ⁄ mL) at 1 (1–2 h) after day 15. The median (and range) of AUC0–24 on day 1 and day 15 were 48.14 (22.37–81.14 μg·h ⁄ mL) and 50.83 (28.43–123.99 μg·h ⁄ mL), respectively. The area under the moment curve (AUMC)0–24 median (and range) for day 1 and day 15 were 530.03 (233.05–798.97 h) and 458.15 (291.72– 1093.58 h), respectively. Swabs were positive for chlamydial DNA pretreatment, and all koalas except one, produced swabs negative for chlamydial DNA during treatment and which remained so, for 2–63 days after treatment, however whether chloramphenicol treatment prevented long-term recrudescence of infection was not established. At this dose and dosing frequency, chloramphenicol appeared to control mild chlamydial infection and prevent shedding, but severe urogenital disease did not appear to respond to chloramphenicol at this dosage regime. For koalas affected by severe chlamydiosis, antibiotics alone are not sufficient to effect a cure, possibly because of structural or metabolic changes associated with chronic disease and inflammation.