Diclofenac Residues in Blood Plasma and Tissues of Vultures Collected from Ahmedabad, India

  • S. Muralidharan
  • V. Dhananjayan


The study reports residues of diclofenac, a non-steroidal anti inflammatory drug, in tissues of 11 White-backed Vulture, Gyps bengalensis collected between 2005 and 2007 and blood plasma of 12 White-backed Vulture, four Egyptian Vulture, Neophron percnopterus and two Griffon Vulture, Gyps fulvus collected during 2005. Samples were analysed using High Performance Liquid Chromatograhy (HPLC) equipped with UV detector. One of the White-backed Vultures collected during 2005 had substantial urate deposits on its viscera and diclofenac was detected in its liver (1.42 ppm wet weight) and kidney (1.18 ppm wet weight), which is suggestive of diclofenac exposure and intoxication. Although uric acid crystals were not observed in the remaining birds received during 2005, the residues of diclofenac detected were at levels higher than the toxic limits (0.25–1 ppm). No residues were detected in any of the tissues of birds collected during 2006 and 2007 (6 birds). About 89% (16 of 18) of plasma samples collected during 2005 had diclofenac residues (White-backed vulture: BDL to 0.17 ppm; Egyptian vulture: BDL to 0.09 ppm; Griffon vulture: 0.07–0.14 ppm). However, plasma diclofenac concentrations were less than the concentrations reported to be toxic. Although use of diclofenac for treating cattle has been banned in India, regular monitoring is recommended to assess the effectiveness of the ban on the drug in support of the conservation of these species.


White-backed vulture Egyptian vulture Griffon vulture Diclofenac Blood plasma 



We thank Mr Pradeep Khanna, PCCF Gujarat State Forest Department, Mr. Rahul Shaghal, Animal Help Foundation and Kartik Sastri, Ahmedabad for their support. Director, Sálim Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Coimbatore extended financial assistance. We are beholden to Dr Barnett Rattner, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, US for critically evaluating this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of EcotoxicologySálim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural HistoryCoimbatoreIndia
  2. 2.Regional Occupational Health CentreIndian Council of Medical ResearchBangaloreIndia

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