Uterine and cervical involution after calving was measured sequentially in 25 parous commercial Friesian cows by using electronic calipers and real-time ultrasound imaging, transrectally. Ovarian activity was monitored by using real-time ultrasound imaging and by the assay of milk progesterone concentrations. Peripheral plasma prostaglandin F2 alpha metabolite concentrations were assayed during this period. Five groups of five cows were treated intramuscularly, approximately 48 hours after calving, with either 100 mg progesterone in oil, 25 mg dinoprost tromethamine, 5 mg oestradiol benzoate, 1.2 mg of the long-acting oxytocin analogue carbetocin or 5 ml sterile water. There were no statistically significant differences between the intervals from calving to the completion of involution or between the intervals from calving to the first ovulation for the cows in the different groups. The mean PGFM concentrations in the peripheral circulation were significantly higher in the carbetocin-treated group, presumably owing to the stimulation of endogenous prostaglandin F2 alpha secretion. This study provides no evidence that a single treatment with any of the four hormones significantly affected the reproductive function of the cows after calving.