The pharmocodynamics of single injections of florfenicol in yearling loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) were determined. Eight juvenile loggerhead sea turtles weighing 1.25 (+/- 0.18) kg were divided into two groups. Four animals received 30 mg/kg of florfenicol i.v., and four received the same dose i.m. Plasma florfenicol concentrations were analyzed by reverse-phase high performance liquid chromatography. After the i.v. dose, there was a biphasic decline in plasma florfenicol concentration. The initial steep phase from 3 min to 1 hr had a half-life of 3 min, and there was a longer slow phase of elimination, with a half-life that ranged from 2 to 7.8 hr among turtles. The volume of distribution varied greatly and ranged from 10.46 to -60 L/kg. Clearance after the i.v. dose was 3.6-6.3 L/kg/hr. After the i.m. injection, there was a peak within 30 min of 1.4-5.6 microg/ml, and florfenicol was thereafter eliminated with a half-life of 3.2-4.3 hr. With either route, florfenicol plasma concentrations were below the minimum inhibitory concentrations for sensitive bacteria within 1 hr. Florfenicol does not appear to be a practical antibiotic in sea turtles when administered at these doses.