An automated headspace gas-chromatographic method has been developed for the determination of acetone in the milk, blood and urine of dairy cows. Five ml samples were saturated with 2 g of sodium chloride and equilibrated for 30 min at 90 degrees C in a Hewlett-Packard HP 19395 A automatic headspace sampler. The headspace volatiles were transferred without splitting to a 25 m x 0.3 mm x 0.4 microns Carbowax column in a Shimadzu GC 9A gas chromatograph, operating isothermally at 50 degrees C. The coefficients of variation for the determination of acetone were 1.5-4.4% for urine, 10.0-24.9% for milk and 2.0-19.6% for blood. The detection limits were 0.0055 mg/100 ml for milk, 0.0072 mg/100 ml for blood and 0.0080 mg/100 ml for urine. The analysis time of 5 min per sample provided an adequate rate of throughput for routine monitoring.