4-Methylimidazole (MeI) is formed when hay is ammoniated and it has been suspected of being the compound causing the 'crazy cow' syndrome. The aim of the present study was to describe the disposition of MeI in goats and heifers. The mean residence time was about five hours and the volume of distribution 0.9 litre kg-1 bodyweight in both goats and heifers. Goats metabolised MeI to a much higher extent than heifers which excreted the major part as the unchanged compound. MeI and its metabolites were excreted mainly in urine, but also in milk and faeces. In spite of administration of a dose (20 mg kg-1 bodyweight) which is much higher than the one intoxicated animals may have received through contaminated fodder none of the typical signs of intoxication were observed and it is concluded that MeI may not alone be the cause of the 'crazy cow' syndrome.