The effects of opiate and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents on the in vitro canine ureter were compared using a new model for the assessment of ureteric pharmacology. A pressure measuring catheter attached to a pressure transducer and pre-calibrated pen recorder was ligated into the lumen of 2.5 cm segments of normal canine ureter. The segments were immersed in an organ bath at physiological pH and temperature and spontaneous contractility was observed in 90% of them. Morphine had a spasmogenic effect on ureteric activity which was unaffected by naloxone. This effect was similar to that of histamine and prostaglandin F2 alpha and was abolished by chlorpheniramine but not by cimetidine. Pethidine produced a transient stimulation followed by inhibition of ureteric activity which was unaffected by naloxone. Both indomethacin and diclofenac produced an abrupt inhibition which was reversible with prostaglandin F2 alpha. These data suggest that pethidine or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent may by virtue of their spasmolytic effects be a superior choice of therapy for the acutely obstructed ureter.