The aim of this study was to investigate the protective effects of oestradiol (E2, 4 mg kg-1 b.w. i.p.) against cadmium-induced (Cd, 2 mg kg-1 b.w. i.p.) blood changes in rats. Cadmium induced a significant decline in haemoglobin, haematocrit, and total erythrocyte, lymphocyte, and thrombocyte count, whereas total leukocytes and granulocytes increased. A significant increase was also observed in serum cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, AST, and ALT activities, whereas total protein and albumin levels dropped significantly. Administration of E2 in combination with Cd alleviated most of these adverse effects. In terms of oxidative stress, Cd significantly increased oxygen-free radicals (O2 •- and H2O2) in neutrophils and lipid peroxidation in erythrocytes, whereas E2 treatment reversed these changes to control values. Acute Cd poisoning significantly lowered antioxidant enzyme (SOD and CAT) activity and the level of non-enzymatic antioxidants (GSH and vitamin E), while increasing in GSSG. Treatments with E2 reversed Cd-induced effects on the antioxidant defences and significantly lowered Cd-induced oxidative damage in erythrocytes. This study suggests that exogenous E2 effectively restores redox balance in rat erythrocytes and counters adverse haematological and biochemical effects of Cd poisoning. It also improves the antioxidant capacity of erythrocytes, acting in synergy with endogenous antioxidants.