Analysis of nine NSAIDs in ungulate tissues available to critically endangered vultures in India

Mark A Taggart, Kalu R Senacha, Rhys E Green, Richard Cuthbert, Yadvendradev V Jhala, Andrew A Meharg, Rafael Mateo, Deborah J Pain

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50 Citations (Scopus)


In 2006, India, Pakistan, and Nepal banned the manufacture of veterinary formulations of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) diclofenac. This action was taken to halt the unprecedented decline of three Gyps vulture species that were being poisoned by diclofenac residues commonly present in carcasses of domestic livestock upon which they scavenged. To assess the affect of this ban and evaluate residue prevelances of other NSAIDs, we present a method to detect diclofenac and eight more NSAIDs by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and apply this to 1488 liver samples from carcasses of livestock taken across seven Indian states. Diclofenac was present in 11.1% of samples taken between April and December 2006, and meloxicam (4%), ibuprofen (0.6%), and ketoprofen (0.5%) were also detected. Although meloxicam is safe for a range of avian scavengers, including Gyps vultures, data regarding the safety of other NSAIDs is currently limited. If wild Gyps on the Indian subcontinent are to survive, diclofenac bans must be completely effective, and NSAIDs that replace it within the veterinary drug market must be of low toxicity toward Gyps and other scavenging birds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4561-4566
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Issue number12
Early online date15 May 2009
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2009


  • nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs
  • chromatography-mass-spectrometry
  • solid-phase extraction
  • liquid-chromatography
  • population declines
  • gyps vultures
  • diclofenac residues
  • scavenging birds
  • subcontinent
  • Bengalensis


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