Despite the proven ability of infrared thermography (IRT) technology for early detection of subclinical mastitis in dairy cows/sheep/goats, studies on its diagnostic feasibility in dairy camels are lacking. Sixty-five lactating camels in mid lactation, machine milked twice-daily and managed under intensive conditions were screened to evaluate the feasibility of utilising IRT compared with other routine indicators in detecting subclinical mastitis. Immediately before the morning milking, a portable infrared camera was used to obtain thermograms in duplicate for the front and rear left quarters to determine the udder surface temperature (UST). Thereafter, milk samples from quarters were collected, and processed for California mastitis test (CMT) score and somatic cell count (SCC). In the present study, CMT score was used to define subclinical mastitis and the feasibility of IRT to detect subclinical mastitis was compared with CMT and SCC. According to CMT score, subclinical mastitic udders had an average UST of 1·42 °C greater (P<0·0001) than healthy udders. The relationship between UST and CMT was found to be highly correlated (r=0·77; P<0·001), and UST was linearly increased as the CMT increased [UST (°C)=34·86+0·66×CMT score; R
2=0·65; P<0·001]. Additionally, high correlations were obtained between UST and SCC score (r=0·75; P<0·001) and the relationship between UST and SCC was fitted best to a logarithmic equation [UST, °C=33·39+0·88×Log (SCC, ×103 cells/ml), R
2=0·61, P<0·001]. The cut-off value, sensitivity, specificity and area under the receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curve for UST were 35·15 °C, 0·90, 0·98, and 0·95, respectively, when subclinical mastitis was defined according to CMT score, and were 35·70 °C, 0·89, 0·96 and 0·94, respectively, when categorised according to the obtained SCC threshold (SCC=432 000 cells/ml). In conclusion, IRT, as an indirect non-invasive screening method, was highly feasible for distinguishing subclinical mastitic udders in dairy camels, which is crucial to treat mastitis early and efficiently.