The effects of sevoflurane or isoflurane on arterial blood gas, arterial oxyhaemoglobin saturation and end-tidal CO2 tension were monitored during induction and maintenance of anaesthesia in 10 premedicated New Zealand White (NZW) rabbits. For induction, the anaesthetic agents were delivered via a face-mask. After induction was completed, an enclotracheal tube was introduced for maintenance of anaesthesia for a period of 90 minutes. Changes in heart rate, respiratory rate, arterial blood gas, arterial oxyhaemoglobin saturation, blood pH and end-tidal CO2 tension were recorded. Although sevoflurane and isoflurane produce similar cardiopulmonary effects in premedicated rabbits, sevoflurane provides a smoother and faster induction because of its lower blood/gas partition coefficient. Thus sevoflurane is probably a more suitable agent than isoflurane for mask induction and maintenance. Its lower blood solubility also makes sevoflurane more satisfactory than isoflurane for maintenance of anaesthesia because it allows the anaesthetist to change the depth of anaesthesia more rapidly.