The energy imbalance related predisposition to mastitis was studied in group-fed postpartum dairy cows (n = 333) kept in 4 large-scale units and producing milk of low somatic cell count (SCC). Blood samples were taken on Days 1-3 after calving for assaying some metabolites and hormones related to the negative energy balance (NEB). If mastitis was diagnosed later, aseptic milk samples were taken to identify the pathogens. Considering pathogen types [contagious pathogens: Staphylococcus (S.) aureus, Gram-positive (GP) environmental pathogens, and Gram-negative (GN) environmental pathogens + mastitis with no detectable pathogens (NDP)] separately, stepwise logistic regression was used to analyse the relation between the potential prognostic value of hormones and metabolites and mastitis outbreak. Only the elevated (= 1.00 mmol/l) serum ß-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) levels predisposed the cows to mastitis in the subsequent 4 weeks. This prognostic value of BHB was significant only in GN + NDP mastitis and in cases caused by GP environmental pathogens, but not in S. aureus mastitis (odds ratio: 5.333, 3.600 and 1.333, respectively).