A novel composite hypertonic solution for intravenous use was tested in two experimental models, one of endotoxic shock and one of shock linked with dehydration, both in anaesthetised calves. Endotoxic shock was induced with Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide and was characterised by a low cardiac output, hypoxaemia, acidosis and anuria. Treatment with a small volume of the solution increased cardiac output, improved oxygen carriage, corrected acidosis and stimulated renal function. Experimental dehydration in calves was induced by intraperitoneal mannitol and frusemide diuresis, and was characterised by reduced circulating plasma volume, acidosis and poor peripheral perfusion. Treatment with the new solution corrected the acidosis and stimulated peripheral circulation significantly better than treatment with hypertonic or isotonic saline alone, and also expanded the calves' plasma volume. The new solution was also compared with conventional fluid therapy in clinical small animal practice. Twenty cats and dogs with clinical shock were treated with either small volumes of the hypertonic solution or large volumes of isotonic fluids. The animals treated with small volumes of the hypertonic solution responded better than the animals treated with large volumes of isotonic fluid.