Erythrocytes from myotonic goats, an animal model of heritable myotonia, and normal goats were studied using electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) and saturation transfer electron paramagnetic resonance (ST-EPR) spin labeling techniques. Three fatty acid spin labels with the nitroxide moiety at progressively greater distances from the carboxyl group were used to monitor different regions within the erythrocyte membrane. Since spin labels have been shown to induce hemolytic and morphologic alterations in erythrocytes, conditions for minimizing these alterations were first defined by hemolysis studies and scanning electron microscopy. Using these defined conditions for our studies we observed no significant differences in any of the EPR or ST-EPR parameters for normal and myotonic goat erythrocytes with any of the fatty acid spin labels used. Our results do not support the theory that myotonia is the result of a generalized membrane defect characterized by increased membrane fluidity as determined by fatty acid spin labels.