The California Milk Cell Test (CMCT) and somatic cell counts (SCC) on their own were not reliable methods in the identification of subclinical mastitis in the dairy goats studied and should be accompanied by microbiological tests. However, CMCT and SCC were indicators of irritation of the udder parenchyma. In healthy goats Spectrazol Milking Cow (Schering-Plough AH) caused the least and Curaclox LC (Norbrook (ARK AH)) the most irritation of parenchyma after intramammary treatment. The effects of Rilexine 200 LC (Logos Agvet (Virbac)) were intermediate. There was a highly significant difference (P < 0.001) in the mean log SCC between treated and control groups for goats treated with Curaclox LC and Rilexine 200 LC but no significant difference was present in the mean log SCC of treatment and control groups for goats treated with Spectrazol Milking Cow at the 07:00 and at 19:00 samplings. The CMCT was an indicator of the level of SCC in goat milk. The CMCT was more useful in confirming the absence of infection, rather than in diagnosing mastitis.