Hereditary Elliptocytosis

Hereditary elliptocytosis is a heritable defect of erythrocytes (red blood cells) that causes congenital hemolytic anemia. Affected erythrocytes, called elliptocytes, have an oval or elliptical shape and are a normal finding in birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, camels, llamas, and alpacas. Elliptocytosis is frequently harmless, especially when fewer than 15% of red blood cells are oval-shaped. However, some animals may have crises in which the red blood cells rupture, releasing their hemoglobin. Affected animals can develop anemia, jaundice, and gallstones. Diagnosis may require a number of tests, including complete blood count, bilirubin test and cholecystogram. In both humans and dogs, hereditary elliptocytosis is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait. The disease has been documented in mixed breed dogs and in the Silky Terrier. There is no cure, although surgical removal of the spleen may slow down and decrease the destruction of red blood cell. Canine elliptocytosis may be associated with several inherited or acquired diseases, icluding hereditary membrane protein deficiency, myelofibrosis, protein mutation and deficiency, and myelodysplastic syndrome.

Source: Mediators Inflamm. 2013; 2013: 432616. doi: 10.1155/2013/432616


  1. Elliptocytosis and Ovalocytosis in Stained Blood Smears. Angela M. Ehinger, DVM; Kenneth S. Latimer, DVM, PhD; Bruce E. LeRoy, DVM, Dipl. ACVP; Perry J. Bain, DVM, PhD. Veterinary Clinical Pathology Clerkship Program



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