Should You Give Enalapril to Your Dog?

Enalapril is a drug commonly used to treat conditions such as heart failure and other heart problems, high blood pressure, and kidney failure in dogs. It’s sometimes referred to by its brand names of Enacard and Vasotec. It’s often used in combination with other treatments such as Furosemide or Digoxin. If you’re wondering whether you should give Enalapril to your dog, speak to your vet. Enalapril is a powerful drug and should only ever be used if specifically prescribed by a veterinarian. If your vet has already prescribed your dog Enalapril and you’re interested in finding out more, here’s what you need to know.

Should You Give Enalapril to Your Dog?

A powerful ACE-inhibitor with potent properties, Enalapril is a common and popular treatment that’s shown excellent efficacy in the treatment and management of several severe conditions. However, Enalapril should only be used under veterinary direction and for the treatment of specific conditions. Enalapril is mainly used in the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure) in dogs. As with humans, hypertension can cause serious problems for dogs when left untreated. As CertaPet ( writes, some of the most common problems that can result from the condition include:

  • Circulatory system disruption
  • Kidney problems
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Damage to blood vessels
  • Damage to the heart
  • Exercise intolerance

While hypertension is the most common condition treated by Enalapril, it’s also prescribed to treat chronic kidney failure, heart murmurs, mild to severe heart failure, and blood illnesses. Enalapril is a potent medication and is available on prescription only.

How Does Enalapril Work?

Enalapril belongs to a category of drugs known as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-inhibitors for short). Angiotensin-converting enzymes are a naturally occurring substance produced in the kidneys. Their primary function is to make the blood vessels constrict, controlling blood pressure in the process. Ace inhibitors work against the natural function of angiotensin-converting enzymes. Rather than making the blood vessels constrict, they encourage them to relax. As the blood vessels relax, blood flow decreases and blood pressure falls.

Like all ACE-inhibitors, Enalapril has a relaxing effect on the blood vessels. It actively blocks the effects of the angiotensin-converting enzyme, resulting in both a decrease in blood pressure and an improvement in the blood’s ability to carry oxygen. Once blood pressure is reduced, heart function is normalized. Enalapril also works to prevent fluid build-up on the lungs, thereby improving exercise tolerance – a common problem among dogs suffering both high blood pressure and other heart complaints.

What is the Correct Dosage Of Enalapril For Dogs?

Enalapril is available in 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg tablets. Typical dosage of Enalapril for dogs is 0.25 mg per pound of body weight. The medication is administered once a day by oral means. As with all prescription medications, it’s vital to follow the guidelines of your veterinarian. The above dosage information serves as a reference only: if it differs from what’s been prescribed by your veterinarian, revert to your veterinarian’s recommendation. They may adjust the dosage depending on your dog’s requirements, along with their reaction to the medication.

As The Labrador Site notes, always ensure that your dog has access to fresh water at all times while they take Enalapril, especially immediately following administration of the drug. Enalapril increases the risk of dehydration, which can lead to secondary problems such as kidney failure, low blood pressure, and electrolyte disorders. Ensuring access to fresh water reduces the risk of these problems occurring.

Are There Any Side Effects Of Enalapril?

As Dog Time notes, Enalapril has several potential side effects. The effects range from mild to serious in severity. Following administration of the drug, monitor your dog carefully. If you notice any of the following symptoms, consult your veterinarian immediately. They may need to either change the prescribed dosage of Enalapril or explore other treatment options.

  • Weakness
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Swelling and bloating
  • Weight gain
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in urination
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Mild itching or rash
  • Vomiting
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Kidney failure

In addition to the above-listed side effects, Enalapril, like all medications, carries a risk of an allergic reaction, which in turn can lead to the life-threatening condition of anaphylaxis. If your dog displays any signs of an allergic reaction such as itchiness, hives, swelling, or breathing difficulties, contact your vet straight away.

Is Enalapril Suitable For All Dogs?

Enalapril is a powerful medication and may not be suitable for all dogs. As Enalapril has been linked to birth defects, it’s not generally considered suitable for pregnant dogs. It’s also contraindicated for nursing dogs. If your dog suffers from any chronic conditions such as liver disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, or kidney disease, be sure to inform your veterinarian before commencing treatment. Similarly, let them know if your dog is currently taking any other medications, particularly if those medications include ACE inhibitors, potassium supplements, or aspirin, all of which may reduce the efficacy of Enalapril or result in an increased risk of side effects. Avoid introducing any new supplements or medication into your dog’s routine during treatment without first consulting your veterinarian. Even natural supplements may interact with Enalapril negatively.

What Should I Do If I Suspect an Overdose?

Enalapril is a powerful medication. If you suspect you may have accidentally administered an overdose, contact your veterinarian immediately. If it’s outside surgery hours, contact an emergency clinic rather than waiting until the following day. Typically, an overdose will present symptoms such as fainting, a decreased heartbeat, and collapse. However, don’t wait until you notice the symptoms before you take action: contact your vet as soon as you realize (or even suspect) you may have repeated a dose.

What Should I Do If I Forget a Dose?

While doubling a dose of Enalapril is a serious problem, forgetting a dose entirely is all too easily done. Don’t panic if you forget. If you’ve only missed one dose and it’s closer in time to when the missed dose should have been administered than it is to the next dose, simply give your dog the missed dose now. If it’s closer in time to when the next dose is due, skip the missed dose and just give them the second dose instead. Don’t be tempted to give two doses consecutively. The risk of side effects increases, as does the possibility of overdose.

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