An abomasal syndrome affecting mainly three- to four-week-old lambs was studied by using a case-control design involving 88 cases and 85 controls. The principal clinical signs were tympany and colic. The cases were divided into three groups according to the main gross pathological findings in 82 of them. The 28 lambs in group 1 had abomasal tympany, the 29 lambs in group 2 had severe damage to the abomasal mucosa, and the 25 lambs in group 3 consisted mainly of lambs with various other diseases in combination with abomasal changes. The lambs in group 1 had a significantly (P<0.05) lower mean (se) abomasal pH (2.7 [0.19]) than those in group 2 (4.1 [0.32]), group 3 (3.7 [0.39]) or the controls (3.3[0.13]). The ruminal pH values ranged from 3.5 to 7.4 but there were no significant differences between the groups. Lambs with ulcers had a significantly (P<0.05) higher frequency of trichophytobezoars, than the cases without ulcers or the controls. The tympanic lambs in group 1 had a significantly higher mean packed cell volume, and higher mean red and white blood cell counts, and a significantly lower mean cell volume and mean cell haemoglobin concentration than the healthy control lambs.