Lactating goats were subjected to dehydration and to infusions of arginine vasopressin (AVP). Dehydration decreased milk production significantly but no changes were observed on the day of AVP infusion. The levels of AVP in plasma reached the same magnitude during both experimental procedures. AVP-immunoreactivity was immunocytochemically detected by light (peroxidase-antiperoxidase technique) and electron microscopy (immuno-Au technique on to glutaraldehyde-fixed, resin-embedded sections) in the mammary gland but not in the control experiments. In addition the cisternae of the rough endoplasmic reticulum in the secretory alveolar cells underwent significant swelling in response to the experimental procedures.