Dopamine was infused intravenously (1, 5 and 10 micrograms/kg/min) for 60 min in three fasted ponies. A dose-dependent increase in heart rate occurred that was rapid in onset and termination at the start and end of the infusions, respectively. Dose-dependent changes in gastric and small intestinal motility were observed. An initial marked inhibition of gastric contraction amplitude was followed by a secondary prolonged period of activity. At the same time the small intestine showed a prolonged period of irregular activity (phase II) and a marked increase in the interval between successive phase IIIs. The left dorsal colon and small colon exhibited variable responses. The normal fasting motility pattern was therefore disrupted by dopamine biphasically, an initial inhibition of the stomach being followed by a period of increased activity in the stomach and small intestine which resembled the postprandial motility pattern. Although the cardiovascular effects of dopamine were transient, the increases in gastrointestinal motility persisted long after the infusion was terminated.