BackgroundThe present study describes the pathologic changes in the brain and the spinal cord of aborted, stillbirth and deformities of newborn lambs infected with viral agents.MethodsFrom February 2012 to March 2013, a total of 650 aborted fetuses from 793 pregnant ewes were studied from 8 flocks at different areas in the Mazandaran province in the north of Iran. And randomly, systematic necropsy was performed to collect tissues, and all gross abnormalities were recorded at necropsy by the pathologist .Nevertheless, we conducted a limited number of necropsies for aborted fetuses.ResultsIn the most cases, arthrogryposis was the most common musculoskeletal defects and at necropsy, malformations of the brain included hydranencephaly, porencephaly, hydrocephalus and cerebellar hypoplasia, mainly in the brain stem and gray and white matter of the brain and cerebellum were observed. Histopathologic lesions included chronic multifocal lymphoplasmacytic encephalitis(nonsuppurative) with extensive perivascular cuffing in some cases, formation of glial nodules mainly in the mesencephalon, thalamus, hippocampus, pons and medulla oblongata in the brain of aborted fetuses, and neuronal degeneration, necrosis and central chromatolysis mainly in the cortex and subcortical of the brain and brain stem regions of them. Furthermore, microscopic lesions are mostly linked to a neurodegenerative and necrotic cell death process in the gray matter of ventral horn of the spinal cord. Briefly, histopathologic findings in the brain and spinal cord included hyperemia, hemorrhage, non-suppurative encephalitis, mononuclear perivascular cuffing, multifocal gliosis, cavitation, central chromatolysis, neuronal degeneration and necrosis, perineuronal and perivascular edema in the all regions of the brain and acute neuronal necrosis in the gray matter of ventral horn of the spinal cord were also seen.ConclusionOur study suggested that the sheep fetuses are fully susceptible to viral infections and may even develop neurolopathological lesions upon natural infection with mentioned pathogens .Therefore ,according to ,specific lesions caused by viral infections, we believe that the histopathological pattern were detected in this study could be associated with either viral infection and or mainly by a Bunyavirus / or Flavivirus strains that extensively shares common lesions with Rift Valley fever ,Wesselsbron ,Cache valley virus / or and Akabaneviruses.Virtual SlidesThe virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here: http://www.diagnosticpathology.diagnomx.eu/vs/13000_2014_223.