Carbicarb (an equimolar mixture of sodium bicarbonate and sodium carbonate) was compared with sodium bicarbonate alone for the treatment of acidosis in newborn calves: 25 of 49 calves with a blood pH at birth of less than 7˙2 and a base deficit of less than −3 mmol/litre were treated intravenously with sodium bicarbonate and 24 were treated with carbicarb. The doses were calculated on the basis of the base deficit in a blood sample taken 10 minutes after birth, and further blood samples were taken immediately after the treatment and 30 and 60 minutes after the treatment for the determination of acid-base status, blood gases and haematological and biochemical variables. Both treatments resulted in a significant increase in blood pH, but there was no difference between them. The mean (sd) blood pH before treatment was 7˙09 (0˙02) and after treatment it was 7˙28 (0˙01). There was no increase in the partial pressure of carbon dioxide after treatment with either sodium bicarbonate or carbicarb. Both treatments were associated with an increase in sodium concentration and decreases in the total erythrocyte count, haematocrit and haemoglobin concentration.