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Environ Pollut. 2009 Aug-Sep;157(8-9):2421-7. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2009.03.013. Epub 2009 Mar 25.

Fatal embryo chondral damage associated with fluoroquinolones in eggs of threatened avian scavengers.

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  • 1Departamento de Ecología Evolutiva, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (CSIC), J. Gutiérrez Abascal 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain.


Stabled livestock reared in housed conditions are often subjected to intensive treatments with veterinary drug, which residues may be present in livestock meat ingested by scavengers, but nothing is known about their presence in eggs of wild birds and their potential detrimental effects on breeding success. We searched for residues of veterinary drugs and other toxicants in infertile and embryonated unhatched eggs of griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) and red kites (Milvus milvus), two threatened avian scavengers. Quinolones (ciprofloxacin and enrofloxacin) were found in most unhatched eggs of both scavenger species clearly associated with severe alterations in the development of embryo cartilage and bones that could preclude embryo movements and subsequently normal development, pre-hatch position and successful hatching. The detrimental effects on developing eggs of veterinary drugs from livestock operations may help to explain reduced breeding success of avian scavengers.

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