We evaluated the pharmacokinetic profile of meloxicam (0.3 and 1.5 mg/kg) given as single and repeated (once daily for 5 d) oral doses to female rabbits (n = 5/group) to define the optimal dose and dosing interval for clinical use. Clinical signs, body weight, and serum chemistry parameters (sodium, potassium, chloride, total protein, urea, creatinine, glucose, alkaline phosphatase, gamma glutamyl transferase, and alanine aminotransferase) were evaluated before and 5 d after dosing to monitor safety at the 2 dose levels in both studies. Plasma samples were collected serially, and concentrations were determined by high performance liquid chromatography. After single oral dosing at 0.3 or 1.5 mg/kg, maximal plasma concentrations of meloxicam were achieved at 6 to 8 h and were 0.14 and 0.3 microg/ml, respectively. Plasma drug levels decreased rapidly to near-undetectable levels by 24 h. There was moderate interindividual variability in plasma meloxicam concentrations with less than proportional increases in peak plasma concentration and area under the concentration curve values at the higher dose after the single and repeat dosing. The elimination half-life was approximately 8 h at both dose levels, suggesting that metabolism was not saturated. Oral clearance of meloxicam is high in rabbits, indicating rapid metabolism and elimination. There was no accumulation of meloxicam when given at 0.3 or 1.5 mg/kg for 5 d, and meloxicam was rapidly eliminated after discontinuation of dosing. Rabbits may require a dose exceeding 0.3 mg/kg given once daily to achieve optimal plasma levels of meloxicam over a 24-h interval.