Pulmonary disposition of tilmicosin in foals and in vitro activity against Rhodococcus equi and other common equine bacterial pathogens


Steeve Giguère, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, PO Box 100136, 2015 S.W. 16th Ave., Gainesville, FL 32610, USA. E-mail: gigueres@mail.vetmed.ufl.edu


The objectives of this study were to determine the serum and pulmonary disposition of tilmicosin in foals and to investigate the in vitro activity of the drug against Rhodococcus equi and other common bacterial pathogens of horses. A single dose of a new fatty acid salt formulation of tilmicosin (10 mg/kg of body weight) was administered to seven healthy 5- to 8-week-old foals by the intramuscular route. Concentrations of tilmicosin were measured in serum, lung tissue, pulmonary epithelial lining fluid (PELF), bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cells, and blood neutrophils. Mean peak tilmicosin concentrations were significantly different between sampling sites with highest concentrations measured in blood neutrophils (66.01 ± 15.97 μg/mL) followed by BAL cells (20.1 ± 5.1 μg/mL), PELF (2.91 ± 1.15 μg/mL), lung tissue (1.90 ± 0.65 μg/mL), and serum (0.19 ± 0.09 μg/mL). Harmonic mean terminal half-life in lung tissue (193.3 h) was significantly longer than that of PELF (73.3 h), bronchoalveolar cells (62.2 h), neutrophils (47.9 h), and serum (18.4 h). The MIC90 of 56 R. equi isolates was 32 μg/mL. Tilmicosin was active in vitro against most streptococci, Staphylococcus spp., Actinobacillus spp., and Pasteurella spp. The drug was not active against Enterococcus spp., Pseudomonas spp., and Enterobacteriaceae.