Six male buffalo calves aged from six to eight months and weighing 100 to 120 kg were used to evaluate the efficacy and safety of caudal epidural analgesia produced by doses of 37·5 mg (5 ml) and 75 mg (10 ml) ropivacaine (0·75 per cent). The study was completed in two phases. In phase 1, all the animals were used twice to evaluate the analgesic and clinical effects of two doses of ropivacaine. In phase 2, the animals were divided into two groups of three to evaluate the effects of two doses of ropivacaine on some haemodynamic and acid-base parameters. Signs of analgesia, as evidenced by a loss of response to pinprick stimulation, were recorded only at the tail, perineum and hindlimbs of the animals given 5 ml ropivacaine, but they extended from the tail to the thorax (T9) in the animals given 10 ml ropivacaine. The duration of analgesia was five to six hours in the animals given 5 ml ropivacaine and seven to eight hours in the animals given 10 ml ropivacaine. Animals of both groups became recumbent, but the score for ataxia was higher in the animals given 10 ml ropivacaine. The respiratory rate decreased significantly (P<0·05) below the baseline in the animals given 10 ml ropivacaine, but the rectal temperature, heart rate, mean arterial pressure, central venous pressure and acid-base and electrolyte parameters did not change significantly in either group.