Mastitis, inflammation of the bovine mammary gland, is generally caused by intramammary infection with bacteria, and antimicrobials have long been a corner stone of mastitis control. As societal concern about antimicrobial use in animal agriculture grows, there is pressure to reduce antimicrobial use in dairy farming. Point-of-care tests for on-farm use are increasingly available as tools to support this. In this Research Reflection, we consider available culture-dependent and culture-independent tests in the context of ASSURED criteria for low-resource settings, including convenience criteria, scientific criteria and societal criteria that can be used to evaluate test performance. As tests become more sophisticated and sensitive, we may be generating more data than we need. Special attention is given to the relationship between test outcomes and treatment decisions, including issues of diagnostic refinement, antimicrobial susceptibility testing, and detection of viable organisms. In addition, we explore the role of technology, big data and people in improved performance and uptake of point-of-care tests, recognising that societal barriers may limit uptake of available or future tests. Finally, we propose that the 3Rs of reduction, refinement and replacement, which have been used in an animal welfare context for many years, could be applied to antimicrobial use for mastitis control on dairy farms.