Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was collected postmortem from the lungs of 113 sheep, and total and differential cell counts were analysed in relation to the presence of gross and microscopic lung pathology. The diffuse lung diseases, maedi and adenomatosis, were both characterised by an increase in overall cellularity and by increases in the percentages of lymphocytes and neutrophils, respectively. Focal parasitic lung disease was characterised by an increase in the percentage of eosinophils and mast cells. Consolidated lung lesions were characterised by a slight increase in cellularity but no change in the differential cell profile. In regions of parasitised and consolidated lungs without lesions the differential cell profile was consistent with focal lung pathology, although the slight increase in cellularity observed in the consolidated regions was not observed in the regions without lesions. A decision tree was developed to facilitate the interpretation and indicate the likely predictive capacity of the differential cytology of the fluid.