Subclinical mastitis (SM) is one of the most important diseases affecting dairy ewes worldwide, with negative impact on the animal health, farm income and public health. Animals with SM often remain untreated because the disease may not be revealed. Increase in somatic cell count (SCC) and positive bacteriology for mastitis pathogens in milk samples are indicative of SM but the evidence of only one of these alterations must suggest an uncertain SM (UM). UM is defined when positive bacteriological examination (Latent-SM) or SCC>500 000 cells/ml (non-specific-SM) are detected in milk. Nevertheless, SCC and bacteriological examination are expensive, time consuming and are not yet in use at the farm level in dairy ewes. Recently, a sensitive acute phase protein, amyloid A, displaying multiple isoforms in plasma and different body fluids including mammary secretion (milk amyloid A-MAA), has been investigated as a marker of mastitis in cows and, in a few studies, in sheep. The aim of this trial was to compare the concentration of MAA of single udder-halves in ewes with healthy udder-halves (HU-control group) and naturally occurring subclinical mastitis, both confirmed (SM group) and uncertain (UM groups: Latent-SM and non-specific-SM), for monitoring udder health. The reliability of a specific ELISA kit for the measurement of MAA was also tested. During a 3-month trial period, 153 udder halves were assigned to the experimental groups based on their health status: 25 with SM, 40 with UM (11 with latent-SM and 29 with non-specific-SM) and 88 HU. SCC and bacteriological analysis were performed to establish the control and subclinical mastitis groups. MAA concentrations in milk samples were measured using a specific commercially milk ELISA kit. The data were submitted to statistical analysis. Significant (P<0·05) differences among the groups SM, non-specific-SM and HU were detected with the SM having the highest level and HU the lowest. MAA concentration is affected by the udder health status and is a useful indicator of subclinical mastitis and increased SCC in sheep.