The reticular motility in 144 cattle with vagal indigestion was evaluated by ultrasonography; 97 had proximal functional stenosis (reticulo-omasal stenosis) and 47 had distal functional stenosis (pyloric stenosis). A 3·5 MHz linear transducer was used to measure the frequency, amplitude, duration and speed of the reticular contractions per three minutes while the animals were standing and unsedated. The mean (sd) number of contractions per three minutes was 4·3 (2·09) with a range from 0 to 12; nine of the cattle had one or two contractions, 17 had three contractions, 59 had four or five contractions, 37 had more than five contractions and 12 had reticular atony. The cattle with proximal functional stenosis had 4·6 (2·01) contractions per three minutes, significantly more (P<0·05) than those with distal functional stenosis (3·6 [2·16]). The position, contour and size of the reticulum, the amplitude and speed of the contractions and the area surrounding the reticulum did not differ significantly between the two groups.