The aim of this study was to evaluate the activity of delta-aminolevulinate dehydratase (δ-ALA-D) in red blood cells of rats infected with Trypanosoma evansi and establish its association with haematocrit, serum levels of iron and zinc and lipid peroxidation. Thirty-six male rats (Wistar) were divided into 2 groups with 18 animals each. Group A was non-infected while Group B was intraperitoneally infected, receiving 7·5×106 trypomastigotes per animal. Each group was divided into 3 subgroups of 6 rats and blood was collected during different periods post-infection (p.i.) as follows: day 5 (A1 and B1), day 15 (A2 and B2) and day 30 PI (A3 and B3). Blood samples were collected by cardiac puncture to estimate red blood cell parameters (RBC), δ-ALA-D activity and serum levels of iron, zinc and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS). Rats in group B showed a significant (P<0·05) reduction of RBC count, haemoglobin concentration and haematocrit at days 5 and 15 p.i. The activity of δ-ALA-D in blood was significantly (P<0·001) increased at days 15 and 30 p.i. δ-ALA-D activity in blood had a significant (P<0·05) negative correlation with haematocrit (r=−0·61) and haemoglobin (r=−0·70) at day 15 p.i. There was a significant (P<0·05) decrease in serum iron and zinc levels and an increase in TBARS levels (P<0·05) during infection. The δ-ALA-D activity in blood was negatively correlated with the levels of iron (r=−0·68) and zinc (r=−0·57) on day 30 p.i. It was concluded that the increased activity of δ-ALA-D in blood might have occurred in response to the anaemia in remission as heme synthesis was enhanced.