Twenty-four Holstein cattle scheduled for flank surgery in a standing position were randomly assigned to four groups of six. A 16 G, 120 mm Tuohy needle was inserted into the first interlumbar epidural space and its position was confirmed by the hanging drop technique. After air had been allowed to enter freely for approximately one minute, the epidural needle was slowly inserted 7 to 10 mm deeper to penetrate the epidural fat, and anaesthetic solution containing either 0˙05 mg/kg bodyweight xylazine hydrochloride (xylazine), 0˙025 mg/kg xylazine, 0˙025 mg/kg xylazine and 0˙1 mg/kg lidocaine hydrochloride (lidocaine), or 0˙2 mg/kg lidocaine alone was administered. Signs of sedation were observed in the three groups treated with xylazine and the number of spinal segments involved in the area of analgesia when the anaesthetic contained xylazine was significantly greater than with 0˙2 mg/kg lidocaine alone (P<0˙01). After the treatment with 0˙025 mg/kg xylazine and 0˙1 mg/kg lidocaine, flank surgery was performed successfully without additional line block or side effects.