We examined the sensitivity of the ferret to emetic stimuli and the effect of radiation exposure near the time of emesis on local cerebral blood flow. Ferrets vomited following the administration of either apomorphine (approx 45% of the ferrets tested) or peptide YY (approx 36% of those tested). Exposure to radiation was a very potent emetic stimulus, but vomiting could be prevented by restraint of the hindquarters of the ferret. Local cerebral blood flow was measured using a quantitative autoradiographic technique and with the exception of several regions in the telencephalon and cerebellum, local cerebral blood flow in the ferret was similar to that in the rat. In animals with whole-body exposure to moderate levels of radiation (4 Gy of 137 Cs), mean arterial blood pressure was similar to that in the control group. However, 15-25 min following irradiation there was a general reduction of local cerebral blood flow ranging from 7 to 33% of that in control animals. These cerebral blood flow changes likely correspond to a reduced activation of the central nervous system.