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Enalapril for Dogs: Side Effects, Dosage, and More

Katelyn Son
By Katelyn Son
Medically reviewed by Ivana Crnec, DVM
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See our advertising disclosure.

If your veterinarian prescribed Enalapril for your your dog and you are not sure what Enalapril is, or are looking for more information, read on.

From dosage through side effects to the science behind how Enalapril for dogs works. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about Enalapril heart medication for dogs. 

Can I Give My Dog Enalapril?  

Can I Give My Dog Enalapril

Yes, you can give your dog Enalapril. In veterinary medicine, Enalapril is FDA approved for use in dogs. Enalapril is obtained through veterinary prescription and is available in tablet and liquid forms under the brand names Enacard® and Vasotec®. 

Enalapril is a potent drug and may cause serious side effects and adverse reactions if misused and in dogs with certain preexisting conditions. Therefore, giving you an Enalapril prescription, the vet will carefully evaluate the pros and cons and give specific usage instructions. 

When to Use Enalapril for Dogs

In pharmacology terms, Enalapril is an ACE inhibitor and should be used in dogs with cardiovascular conditions. To understand how this drug class works, we need to explain the renin-angiotensin system.

Renin is an enzyme produced in the kidneys when the blood pressure drops. At the same time, the liver makes a protein named angiotensin. The renin stimulates the angiotensin to convert into angiotensin I. 

Angiotensin I enters the circulation and when it reaches the lungs, it converts into angiotensin II. Angiotensin II narrows the blood vessels (vasoconstriction) to increase the blood flow force and decrease blood pressure.  

The angiotensin conversion is enabled by the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE). This is where ACE inhibitors such as Enalapril kick in – they inhibit the ACE enzyme from transforming the angiotensin, thus preventing high blood pressure. 

Benefits and Uses of Enalapril for Dogs

Benefits and Uses of Enalapril for Dogs

Although the mainstream use of Enalapril is cardiovascular conditions, the drug can also be used to treat certain kidney problems and diseases. Let’s take a look at the different Enalapril benefits and uses for dogs. 

Enalapril for Congestive Heart Failure in Dogs. Together with other medications such as beta-blockers and diuretics, Enalapril can be used for dogs with congestive heart failure. Enalapril helps the heart pump more efficiently and prevents fluid build-up in the lungs.  

Enalapril for Systemic Hypertension in Dogs. The most common use of Enalapril is managing or, better said, preventing hypertension (high blood pressure). If left untreated, hypertension is a life-threatening condition. 

Enalapril for Chronic Kidney Failure in Dogs. By inhibiting angiotensin II, Enalapril decreases the renal-filtration pressure or basically, lowers the workload on the kidneys. This feature can be used to manage dogs with glomerulonephritis and chronic kidney failure. 

Enalapril for Protein-Losing Nephropathies in Dogs. Enalapril can prevent excess protein loss in dogs with protein-losing nephropathies. Common causes of such nephropathies are tubular renal disease, lower urinary tract infections, and certain neoplasms. 

Potential Side Effects and Risks of Enalapril for Dogs

While Enalapril is FDA-approved for use in canines, it is important to remember that every dog may react differently. So, make sure you keep an eye out for the Enalapril side effects listed below: 

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite and dry mouth 
  • Fever and chills 
  • Coughing 
  • Drowsiness, dizziness, and fainting 
  • Low blood pressure
  • Bleeding and bruising 
  • Hyperkalemia (high potassium levels)
  • Rapid weight gain.  

Additionally, some dogs may develop an allergic reaction to Enalapril. The telltale signs include facial swelling, rashes, hives, and, worst-case scenario, difficulty breathing. 

It should be noted that Enalapril is not universally suited for all dogs. Namely, drugs from the ACE inhibitors group should not be used in:

  • Dogs allergic to ACE inhibitors 
    • Lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril)
    • Captopril (Capoten)
    • Benazepril (Lotensin)
    • Ramipril (Altace)
  • Dogs receiving medications with drug interactions
  • Dogs with diabetes, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis  
  • Dogs with acute kidney injury 
  • Pregnant and lactating females. 

On the other hand, the Enalapril use warrants extreme caution in:

  • Dogs with liver and kidney disease 
  • Dogs with collagen vascular disease 
  • Severely dehydrated dogs
  • Dogs with low sodium levels.  

Enalapril Dosage for Dogs

enalapril dosage for dogs

Get it on Chewy

 

The recommended Enalapril dosage for dogs is 0.25 mg per pound once a day. Enalapril is available in tablets (2.5mg, 5mg, 10mg, and 20mg), oral liquids, and injectable solutions. However, the vet may recommend a slightly different dosage based on the underlying cause. 

You can give your dog Enalapril with or without food (if your pet is prone to tummy upsets, it is best to give the medication with food or on a full stomach). Also, ensure your dog has constant access to clean drinking water, as this medication may make your dog dehydrated. 

If you forgot to give your dog, Enalapril do not double dose – either give the tablet as soon as you remember, or if it is close to the next dose, skip the missed dose completely and continue with the established schedule. 

Following the dosing guidelines is paramount as giving your dog too much Enalapril can lead to overdose with potentially life-threatening hypotension (drop in the blood pressure). 

Enalapril for Dogs Usage Guidelines

When using this drug, it is critical to follow the vet’s instructions and carefully monitor your dog. To make sure the medication is working and not causing adverse effects, the veterinarian will monitor various parameters such as kidney values, electrolytes, and urine protein levels. 

As a fast-acting drug, Enalapril starts working one or two hours after administration. However, its effects are not visible on the outside. This accents the essence of regular checkups at the vet’s office. 

Enalapril may boost or inhibit the efficacy of other drugs. Common Enalapril drug interactions include the following medications listed below:

It is also a good idea to let your veterinarian know about any vitamins, supplements, or herbal remedies your dog is taking, so the vet can ensure there is no risk for drug interactions.  

Finally, a word or two about Enalapril storage. It is advisable to keep the medication at room temperature away from light, moisture, and of course, out of your pet’s reach. 

Our Final Thoughts on Enalapril for Dogs

Enalapril is FDA-approved for dogs

Enalapril is FDA-approved for dogs and commonly prescribed to manage issues like high blood pressure, heart and kidney failures. 

However, this drug comes with serious side effects, thus warranting precise use and careful monitoring. Before giving your dog Enalapril, the vet will consider both the benefits and risks. 

Sources

https://www.dvm360.com/view/practical-guide-antiproteinuric-drugs-dogs

https://www.vaajournal.org/article/S1467-2987(16)30005-8/pdf 

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/09712119.2002.9706401

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3196016/

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1470320317737184

https://avmajournals.avma.org/view/journals/ajvr/76/12/ajvr.76.12.1041.xml

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4980477/

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/12311825/