Identification of flunixin glucuronide and depletion of flunixin and its marker residue in bovine milk



Residues of flunixin [and its marker residue 5-hydroxyflunixin (5OHFLU)] were determined in milk from cows that intravenously received therapeutic doses of the drug. The samples were collected during each milking (every 12 h) for six consecutive days, and concentrations of flunixin and its metabolites were determined by the method with and without enzymatic hydrolysis (beta-glucuronidase). The highest flunixin concentration in milk was observed 12 h after dosing (2.4 ± 1.42 μg/kg, mean ± SD). Flunixin concentrations in the samples determined with enzymatic hydrolysis were significantly higher (P < 0.05), which suggests the transfer of flunixin glucuronide to the milk. Additionally, unambiguous identification of flunixin glucuronide in the bovine milk was performed with linear ion-trap mass spectrometry. The 5OHFLU concentrations analyzed without enzymatic hydrolysis (22.3 ± 16.04 μg/kg) were similar to this obtained with enzymatic hydrolysis. Flunixin and 5OHFLU concentrations dropped below the limits of detection at 48 h after last dosing.