The objective of the study was to determine the influence of either oral or intramuscular administration of stanozolol on nitrogen retention in dogs by using a non-invasive 15N-amino acid tracer technique. Ten healthy, intact, adult male sled dogs received either stanozolol tablets, 2 mg/dog PO, q12h, for 25 days (Group 1, n = 5) or an intramuscular injection of 25 mg of stanozolol on Days 7, 14, 21, and 28 (Group 2, n = 5). A 15N amino acid (5.27 mmol) was infused intravenously into each dog on Day 0 (before stanozolol treatment) and on Day 31 (after stanozolol treatment). Urine was collected by catheterization from each animal 3 times daily for 3 consecutive days. The 15N-urea enrichment in urine was determined by high-resolution mass spectrometry and the total amount of urea in the urine was determined. Both oral and injectable stanozolol resulted in significant (P < 0.05) increases in amino acid nitrogen retention compared to pretreatment values. Oral stanozolol increased nitrogen retention from 29.2 +/- 8.2% to 50.3 +/- 9.2%, while stanozolol injection increased nitrogen retention from 26.6 +/- 9.9% to 67.0 +/- 7.5%. The response to intramuscular administration was significantly greater than the response to the oral dosing regime. Stanozolol increases amino acid nitrogen retention in dogs, as has been previously observed in rats. This action of stanozolol may be beneficial in dogs under stress of surgical trauma and chronic disease.