The effect of shock waves on normal canine kidneys was examined in three groups of dogs whose right kidneys were exposed to 500, 1500, or 3000 shock waves. Autopsy was performed 24-30 h later. The kidneys were enlarged with haemorrhages in the outer and inner renal capsule and intraparenchymally. Macroscopically intraparenchymal haemorrhages were restricted to the high pressure field of the shock wave and consisted of haematomas up to 18 mm diameter (most frequently 6 mm or less) and diffuse haemorrhages. Histologically, haemorrhages were shown to originate from interlobular and arcuate veins. Venous thrombosis, tubular dilatation, and diffuse interstitial haemorrhage occurred in the same area. The number of haematomas was larger, and diffuse haemorrhages were more extended after the application of 1500 and 3000 than after 500 shock waves. No difference was seen between 1500 and 3000 shock waves.