Comparison of Canine and Human Physiological Factors: Understanding Interspecies Differences that Impact Drug Pharmacokinetics

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Martinez, Marilyn
Neuhoff, Sibylle
Pade, Devendra
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Mochel, Jonathan
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Biomedical Sciences

The Department of Biomedical Sciences aims to provide knowledge of anatomy and physiology in order to understand the mechanisms and treatment of animal diseases. Additionally, it seeks to teach the understanding of drug-action for rational drug-therapy, as well as toxicology, pharmacodynamics, and clinical drug administration.

The Department of Biomedical Sciences was formed in 1999 as a merger of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy and the Department of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology.

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Related Units

  • College of Veterinary Medicine (parent college)
  • Department of Veterinary Anatomy (predecessor, 1997)
  • Department of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology (predecessor, 1997)

Organizational Unit
Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine
The mission of VDPAM is to educate current and future food animal veterinarians, population medicine scientists and stakeholders by increasing our understanding of issues that impact the health, productivity and well-being of food and fiber producing animals; developing innovative solutions for animal health and food safety; and providing the highest quality, most comprehensive clinical practice and diagnostic services. Our department is made up of highly trained specialists who span a wide range of veterinary disciplines and species interests. We have faculty of all ranks with expertise in diagnostics, medicine, surgery, pathology, microbiology, epidemiology, public health, and production medicine. Most have earned certification from specialty boards. Dozens of additional scientists and laboratory technicians support the research and service components of our department.
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This review is a summary of factors affecting the drug pharmacokinetics (PK) of dogs versus humans. Identifying these interspecies differences can facilitate canine-human PK extrapolations while providing mechanistic insights into species-specific drug in vivo behavior. Such a cross-cutting perspective can be particularly useful when developing therapeutics targeting diseases shared between the two species such as cancer, diabetes, cognitive dysfunction, and inflammatory bowel disease. Furthermore, recognizing these differences also supports a reverse PK extrapolations from humans to dogs. To appreciate the canine-human differences that can affect drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination, this review provides a comparison of the physiology, drug transporter/enzyme location, abundance, activity, and specificity between dogs and humans. Supplemental material provides an in-depth discussion of certain topics, offering additional critical points to consider. Based upon an assessment of available state-of-the-art information, data gaps were identified. The hope is that this manuscript will encourage the research needed to support an understanding of similarities and differences in human versus canine drug PK.


This article is published as Martinez, Marilyn N., Jonathan P. Mochel, Sibylle Neuhoff, and Devendra Pade. "Comparison of Canine and Human Physiological Factors: Understanding Interspecies Differences that Impact Drug Pharmacokinetics." The AAPS Journal 23 (2021): 59. DOI: 10.1208/s12248-021-00590-0.