Two experiments were carried out to investigate the effect of sampling techniques on the plasma concentrations of pituitary and adrenocortical hormones in ferrets (Mustela putorius furo). In the first experiment blood was collected on two occasions from 29 ferrets which were either manually restrained or anaesthetised with isoflurane. In the second experiment eight intact ferrets were fitted with jugular catheters and blood was collected on four occasions, just before and as soon as possible after they had been manually restrained or anaesthetised with medetomidine or isoflurane; blood was also collected 10 and 30 minutes after the induction of anaesthesia. Medetomidine anaesthesia had no effect on the plasma concentrations of pituitary and adrenocortical hormones. Isoflurane anaesthesia resulted in a significant increase in the plasma concentration of alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH) directly after the induction of anaesthesia. Manual restraint resulted in a significant increase in the plasma concentrations of cortisol and adrenocorticotrophic hormone (Acm) and a decrease in the plasma concentration of α-MSH.