The aim of this study was to evaluate nitric oxide (NOx) concentration in infected and non-infected mammary quarters of dairy heifers before and after calving. The relationship between bacterial species and NOx concentrations, as well as correlation between NOx concentrations and postpartum somatic cell count (SCC), was assessed. Coagulase-negative staphylococci, Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli were the bacteria commonly isolated during the pre- and postpartum period. Infected quarters had greater NOx concentrations than non-infected quarters before (30.81 v. 22.83 μM/ml, P < 0.05) and after (9.56 v. 5.77 μM/ml, P < 0.0001) calving. It was determined that the interaction between sampling period and infectious status had no effect on NOx concentration (P < 0.16). Infected quarters had greater SCC (log10) than healthy quarters (4.95 v. 4.39; P < 0.0001). NOx concentrations, however, did not correlate with SCC (r = 0.02). In summary, changes in NOx concentration were mainly dependent on the infectious status of the quarters with variations among the bacterial species (P < 0.05).