In the dog, plasma creatine kinase (CK) activity was stable up to one week at +4 degrees C and one month at -20 degrees C. Activity was higher in serum than in plasma due to interference by CK from the platelets. The reference values were determined in 232 dogs using the IFCC recommended method. There was a significant decrease in activity with age but no effect of sex. In adults, plasma CK exhibited a log-normal distribution ranging from 20 to 104 U per litre. In 510 dogs with various diseases, the overall sensitivity and specificity of CK determination were 40 per cent and 98 per cent, respectively. The numerous false negatives could result from the relatively short half-life of the enzyme, while the false positives could be due to secondary muscle damage.