The pharmacokinetics and the effects of the opioid buprenorphine on behavior, cardiovascular parameters, plasma concentrations of cortisol and vasopressin were studied in the goat. After intravenous injection at a dosage of 0.02 mg/kg bw, the terminal half-life was 73.8 ± 19.9 min (mean ± SD), the apparent volume of distribution 5.22 ± 1.01 L/kg, and total body clearance 79.1 ± 18.5 mL/min/kg. After intramuscular administration of buprenorphine at the same dosage, bioavailability was complete and clearance was 54.7 ± 16.6 mL/min/kg. Heart rate, blood pressure and concentrations of cortisol and vasopressin in plasma increased after drug administration. The goats became agitated and stopped ruminating. The effects were more pronounced the first time the animals received the drug, especially the influence on the hormone levels. The concentrations of cortisol and vasopressin in plasma remained unaffected after the second dose despite a wash-out period of 3–6 weeks. Buprenorphine may be an unsuitable drug in goats because of the profound inhibition of rumination and the agitation it causes. The short half-life of buprenorphine may limit its use if long-term analgesia is required but be advantageous if a short acting drug is desirable.