The capacity of intestinal lactase (EC 188.8.131.52) of piglets to hydrolyse lactose in vivo was investigated by measuring the response of blood galactose to doses of lactose, galactose plus glucose and both whole and skimmed milk. Following the administration of oral doses of lactose dissolved in water to piglets from 2 to 18 d of age the adjusted galactose area under the curve (AUG) was between 1.12 and 1.36 arbitrary units, while following a dose of galactose plus glucose dissolved in water it was between 1.56 and 1.98 arbitrary units. Whereas these results suggest that the rate of digestion of lactose appeared to Limit the amount of galactose reaching the peripheral blood after a dose of lactose dissolved in water, there was no significant correlation between the capacity of piglets to hydrolyse physiological amounts of lactose and the age of the piglets (2- to 18-d-old piglets; r 0.11). Following oral doses of sow's milk containing either lactose, or galactose plus glucose, the adjusted galactose AUC values were 0.94 and 1.00 arbitrary units respectively, in 10-d-old piglets. Thus, the limitation to the digestion of lactose observed when it was present in water was not evident for lactose in sow's milk. Since there was no significant difference between the adjusted galactose AUC following a dose of whole milk (0.95 arbitrary units) and that following a dose of skimmed milk (1.03 arbitrary units), the presence of fat in sow's milli did not appear to affect the utilization of lactose by the sucking piglets.