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Enalapril for Dogs

By | Last Updated : 13th February 2018

What is Enalapril

Enalapril is an ACE inhibitor drug used for the treatment of high blood pressure (hypertension) and heart failure [1]. It may also be given for other heart conditions like heart murmurs, and congestive heart failure (CHF). Another prescribed usage of the drug is for managing excessive protein loss in the urine, a condition known as proteinuria [1, 3].

Can dogs safely take it

Enalapril is approved by the FDA for the treatment of the above conditions.

Quick Information

Enalapril for Dogs

Generic Name

Enalapril maleate [4]

Brand Name

Enacard ®, Vasotec ® [3]

Type

ACE inhibitor [3]

Who can take it

Dogs, cats [3]

FDA Approved

Only for use in dogs [3]

Availability

Prescription only [3]

Available forms

Tablets (1 mg, 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg), oral liquid

How does it work in dogs

ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) is an enzyme that regulates the blood and fluid levels in the body to control blood pressure by turning the hormone angiotensin into the vasoconstrictor angiotensin II. This narrows the blood vessels, which increases the blood pressure within them, making the heart work harder to keep the blood flowing. Being an ACE inhibitor, enalapril hampers the function of ACE, keeping it from producing angiotensin II. This, in turn, helps the blood vessels to carry blood normally, keeping the blood pressure from rising [3, 7].

Dosage: How much to give

Make sure to follow the prescription given by the vet. The dosage usually depends on the size of your dog – higher for larger dogs, becoming lower for smaller ones; The usually recommended dosage is around 0.25 mg/pound (0.5 mg/kg) of the dog’s weight, given once daily [5, 4]. The duration of treatment usually depends on the condition being treated, and your dog’s reaction to the medication.

The pale yellow round tablet should be given whole along with food; it is not recommended to crush the pill.

If you miss giving a dose, give it as soon as you remember, unless it is almost time for the next dose, in which case, give only the scheduled dose.

Are there any side-effects

Watch your pet for any adverse health effects when on the medication, and inform the vet if you notice any of the following:

  • Loss of appetite [5, 4]
  • Diarrhea [4]
  • Vomiting [4]
  • Lethargy [3] (your dog being unwilling to get on its feet and be its usual active self)
  • Increase or decrease in urination [1]
  • Coughing [4]
  • Allergic reactions (labored breathing, hives, swollen face, etc.) [3]

Giving enalapril along with other strong medications such as diuretics and vasodilators increases the likelihood of developing these effects.

On rare occasions, giving high doses of enalapril to a dog can even lead to kidney failure, especially in those with an existing kidney disease, or who are already on diuretics like furosemide [5]. This is why it is even more important to monitor your pet if it is suffering from multiple organ disorders and is taking it along with other drugs.

In some cases, the vet may recommend switching to some alternatives to enalapril, like lisinopril, benazepril, and captopril, if there are severe side effects.

Signs of overdose

A radical drop in blood pressure can occur if there is an overdose; the symptoms to look out for are [6]:

  • Fainting
  • Severe lethargy (your dog unwilling to even lift its head)
  • Pale gums

Get in touch with the vet as soon as you suspect an overdose or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Helpline (1-888-426-4435).

Contraindications: When not to give

Enalapril is usually not prescribed to dogs that are:

  • Suffering from a kidney disease [5]
  • Pregnant or nursing [5]
  • Allergic to enalapril or other ACE inhibitors [2]

Inform the vet about any condition you dog may be suffering from and medications it may be on. Enalapril might interact with NSAIDs like aspirin, heart medications like digoxin, diuretics like furosemide, cancer medication like cisplatin and methotrexate, anticoagulants, corticosteroids, and potassium supplements [3]. However, your vet might prescribe some of these together if the chances of benefit are higher than the risks of complications.

References

    1. Enalapril – PetCareRX.com
    2. Enalapril ® (Generic) – DrsFosterSmith.com
    3. Enalapril – PetMD.com
    4. Enalapril – 1800PetMeds.com
    5. Enalapril (Enacard®, Vasotec®) for Cats and Dogs – PetPlace.com
    6. Enalapril Maleate For Dogs And Cats – WedgewoodPetRX.com
    7. Furosemide, Enalapril, and Pimobendan, Oh My! – BigHeartsFund.org

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