Arterial oxygen partial pressure can increase during inspiration and decrease during expiration in the presence of a variable shunt fraction, such as with cyclical atelectasis, but it is generally presumed to remain constant within a respiratory cycle in the healthy lung. We measured arterial oxygen partial pressure continuously with a fast intra-vascular sensor in the carotid artery of anaesthetized, mechanically ventilated pigs, without lung injury. Here we demonstrate that arterial oxygen partial pressure shows respiratory oscillations in the uninjured pig lung, in the absence of cyclical atelectasis (as determined with dynamic computed tomography), with oscillation amplitudes that exceeded 50 mmHg, depending on the conditions of mechanical ventilation. These arterial oxygen partial pressure respiratory oscillations can be modelled from a single alveolar compartment and a constant oxygen uptake, without the requirement for an increased shunt fraction during expiration. Our results are likely to contribute to the interpretation of arterial oxygen respiratory oscillations observed during mechanical ventilation in the acute respiratory distress syndrome.