Cefotaxime powder was diluted with sterile water to a concentration of 100 mg/mL. The volume of solution was adjusted for each experimental horse to provide a total dose of 15, 20, and 25 mg/kg and was administered by infusion through a jugular vein catheter over a 10-min period. All three doses were administered to each of the six experimental horses at three different times. Cefotaxime concentrations in plasma and synovial fluid samples were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Standard compartmental analysis techniques and the WinSAAM modeling program were used to determine standard pharmacokinetic parameters for cefotaxime. The plasma and synovial fluid data from the five horses administered the 25 mg/kg dose was analyzed. Plasma cefotaxime concentrations appeared to be linearly related to dose infused and declined in parallel, suggesting linear drug kinetics. Moreover, cefotaxime concentrations declined monotonically suggesting that its disposition kinetics could essentially be described by a one-compartment model rather than the fact that sampling occurred after the infusion was discontinued. Maximum concentration of cefotaxime in plasma occurred immediately after cessation of the infusion. Minimum inhibitory concentrations were determined for Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Klebsiella pneumoniae, common isolates from septic arthritis in horses. Based on our pharmacokinetic data, a regimen of 25 mg/kg administered i.v. every 6 h appears appropriate for susceptible joint infections in adult horses.