Total body electrical conductivity (TOBEC) is a simple and non-invasive method for the assessment of body composition in vivo. Information regarding the applicability of TOBEC in the condition of abnormal fluid balance is scarce. In the present paper we give the results of the comparison between TOBEC and total body water (TBW; assessed by the tritium dilution technique) in three groups of animals: (1) healthy (n 17), (2) expanded fluid volume by secondary biliary cirrhosis (SBC; n 9) and (3) Fiirosemide®-treated rats (n 9). The TOBEC score and TBW by tritium dilution were found to be highly correlated in the pooled sample (r 0·90) and in normal (r 0.·87), SBC (r 0·73) and Furosemide-treated (r 0·89) rats. However, the relationship between TOBEC and TBW, described by least-squares regression analysis, was found to be similar for SBC and normal rats but was significantly different for Furosemide-treated and normal rats. These findings suggest that TOBEC is unable to track TBW accurately when the ratio between intracellular and extracellular water is chronically or acutely altered.