Drug residues in birds
Drug residues in birds
Ignasi Marco Sánchez
Autonomous University of Barcelona

Scavenger birds in the Pyrenees are at risk of exposure to different types of pharmaceuticals from medicated domestic animals that are provided at specific feeding grounds for these species.

There are two objectives of the project proposal:

1. To determine the presence of antibiotic residues in the four species of scavenger birds in the Pyrenees: Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus), black vulture (Aegypius monachus), bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) and Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus).

2. To determine and evaluate drug residues (anti-inflammatories, antibiotics and antiparasitics) in Egyptian vultures involved in captive breeding plans in Catalonia.

To conduct the analyses that form part of the first objective, the samples will be used that are obtained in the project ‘Diclofenac and other anti-inflammatories in scavenger birds on the Iberian Peninsula’, granted by the American Morris Animal Foundation. The main objective of this study is to research and evaluate the presence of residues and the toxicity of these anti-inflammatory drugs in scavenger birds. To do so, recovery centres in Spain and Portugal will collaborate by sending the cadavers of scavenger birds and/or samples of the autopsied animal organs to these centres.

For the second objective, the Egyptian vultures will be captured and physically immobilised to take blood samples. On the one hand, the animals’ state of health will be determined by haemogram and a basic blood biochemistry and, on the other, the toxicology analysis will be performed for the aforementioned drugs. To analyse the residues of anti-inflammatories and antibiotics, methods based on liquid chromatography will be employed, along with mass spectrometry. To analyse the antiparasitics, gas chromatography techniques will be employed, coupled to mass spectrometry.

The studies derived from this project will allow for the assessment of field data to determine the risk of exposure and intoxication by antibiotics of the Pyrenean vultures, and will provide key information to veterinary authorities that regulate the use of these drugs, and will be reported for a future decision making process. Further, for the Egyptian vultures in the captive breeding plan in Catalonia, these studies will allow for the specific monitoring of this species and evaluation of their state of health.

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