Enalapril for Dogs: Side Effects, Dosage, and More!

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By: Kathryn Anderson Updated: April 16, 2020

Has your dog been prescribed Enalapril for dogs? Not sure what exactly Enalapril is? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

From dosage to side effects to even the science behind how this drug works. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about this heart medicine.

Vasotec: Enalapril for Dogs

If you’ve got a dog with heart problems then you’ve probably already heard about Enalapril for dogs. Well, Enalapril for dogs is actually a drug that is classed as an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor. In other words, it’s main job is to lower blood pressure by relaxing the tone of the blood vessel.

Enalapril often goes under the name Vasotec. This FDA approved drug is used to mainly treat cases of hypertension (aka high blood pressure) in dogs. Hypertension can be quite a severe problem in our pets. If left untreated, hypertension can lead to:

  • a disruption in the circulatory system
  • damage to the vessels of the circulatory system
  • damage to the heart
  • exercise intolerance
  • kidney problems
  • heart attack
  • stroke

Often dogs with hypertension may experience symptoms like:

  • seizures
  • circling
  • eye and nose bleeds
  • vision loss

How Does it Work?

If you’re a veterinary student or a science lover then you’re in for a treat. Because the mechanism of action for this drug is just a little science lesson waiting to be learned.

Enalapril for dogs is a drug that belongs to a class of other drugs called your angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. For short, we will call these guys your ACE. Now, the ACE is an enzyme that is produced naturally by the kidneys. In the body, this enzymes the main function to control blood pressure by causing the blood vessels to constrict.

ACE inhibitors, on the other hand, do the opposite! Rather than constricting blood vessels, the ACE inhibitors relax blood vessels. This relaxing of the blood vessels ultimately leads to decreases blood flow, and therefore decreasing blood pressure.

Therefore enalapril for dogs works by actually blocking the angiotensin-converting enzyme. And, as a result, we see not only a decrease in blood pressure but also an increase in the blood’s oxygen carrying capacity.

Treating Dog Heart Problems: 4 Uses of Enalapril Maleate for Dogs

As a general rule of thumb, enalapril for dogs may be used as part of the treatment for any disease that causes hypertension (elevated blood pressure). Since there may be many causes of hypertension in dogs, we will cover just the top 5 causes of hypertension common to our canine companions.

  1. Congestive Heart Failure in dogs: Congestive heart failure in dogs is a disease that results in fluid accumulation and pulmonary edema. Enalapril may be used to increase the heart’s ability to pump oxygen-rich blood more effectively.
  2. Chronic Renal disease in dogs: Enalapril may be used to treat not only cases of chronic kidney disease, but also diseases such as protein-losing kidney disease.
  3. Cushing’s Disease in dogs 
  4. Hyperthyroidism 

Kidney Problems in Dogs: This Drug will Help Dogs with Kidney Failure!

ACE inhibitors may be frequently used in cases of chronic kidney disease. Many pets diagnosed with kidney disease may succumb to hypertension (elevated blood pressure). As a result of hypertension, it is quite common to find dogs experiencing cases of sudden blindness and retinal detachment.

To prevent the negative effects of hypertension, it is very likely that your veterinarian will prescribe ACE inhibitors such as Enalapril maleate.

So depending on your dog’s individual case, Enalapril can affect the kidneys by:

  • Decreases proteinuria
  • Decreases glomerular basement membrane splitting
  • Delay increases in serum creatinine

Therefore, overall, dogs treated with Enalapril for cases of hypertension relating to kidney disease may have an increased survival rate.

Fevers, Chills, and More! Enalapril Side Effects You Need to Be Aware of!

Regardless of one’s personal opinion, veterinary medications and drugs are crucial when it comes to treating serious diseases. Nonetheless, sometimes even medications can cause adverse reactions and side effects. While Enalapril for dogs is an FDA approved drug, it is important to remember every dog will react a bit differently to it.

So, make sure you keep an eye out for these side effects to Enalapril for dogs!

Common side effects to this drug may include:

  • Coughing
  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness

Uncommon side effects to this medication may include:

  • Kidney damage
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hypotension
  • Rashes
  • Allergic reactions

Enalapril Dosage & Administration!

If your pet has been prescribed Enalapril for dogs then it is always important to follow the dosage mentioned by your veterinarian. This is because your veterinarian takes into consideration many individual factors specific to your dog.

Nevertheless, the recommended dosage for enalapril is as follows:

  • Dogs: 0.5 to 1 mg/kg given orally every 12 to 24 hours
  • Cats: 0.25 to 0.5 mg/kg given orally every 12 to 24 hours

What do I do If Overdose or Forget to give a Dose to my Dog?

If you accidentally overdose your dog with enalapril then you will likely notice symptoms such as:

  • fainting
  • decreased heartbeat
  • collapse

Even if you suspect an overdose of enalapril, then it is important to contact your emergency veterinarian as soon as possible.

Now more often than not, pet owners may often forget a dose rather than overdose their dog. So, if you missed a dose then don’t worry!

If you missed a single dose of Enalapril then immediately give your dog the dose the moment you remember. However, if it’s a bit too late, and if it’s almost time for the second dose. Then skip the first dose (the missed one) and simply give the second treatment.

Remember, you are better to miss a dose than to overdose! Never give your pet 2 treatments of Enalapril consecutively.

4 Facts You Need to Know About this Medication for Dogs!

  1. Enalapril maleate is a drug that can only be prescribed by a veterinarian.
  2. Enalapril is often not the only drug used in a treatment plan. Veterinarians may also use drugs like Furosemide (a diuretic) or spironolactone. So, when Enalapril is used in conjunction with drugs like Furosemide then your dog is more likely to experience side effects.
  3. This drug needs to be stored at room temperature and in a dark place. If placed in a hot or humid/wet environment, then the drug may not be as potent or effective.
  4. This drug may have negative interactions with other medications. Therefore, you need to notify your veterinarian if you’re dog is on any non-steroidal anti-inflammatories or cbd oil.

Common Question on Enalapril for Dogs

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