A simple, rapid and specific ion-pair liquid chromatographic method for the routine determination of the marker residue of oxytetracycline in sheep milk, at levels as low as 20 microg/kg, has been developed. Milk samples were acidified and extracted with acetonitrile. The extracts were purified by treatment with ammonium sulphate and concentrated into diluted phosphoric acid. Separation was carried out isocratically on a Nucleosil C(18) column using a mobile phase that contained both positively and negatively charged pairing ions. The in-house validated method gave overall recoveries and overall relative standard deviations better than 86% and 4.6%, respectively. The method was successfully applied to study the depletion of oxytetracycline in sheep milk and to estimate the withdrawal period after intramuscular administration of a commercial oxytetracycline formulation.