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Benazepril (Fortekor®, Lotensin®) for Dogs and Cats
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Overview of Benazepril for Dogs and Cats
Benazepril, commonly known as Lotension® or Fortekor®, blocks chemical transmitters that can adversely affect the heart. These chemicals are products of angiotensin. The prescription drug is often used most commonly in dogs and cats to prevent heart failure and treat high blood pressure.
Benazepril belongs to a general class of drugs known as angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors). Other related drugs include enalapril (Endocard®; Vasotec®) captopril (Capoten®), fosinopril (Monopril®), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril®), moexipril (Univasc®), quinapril (Accupril®), ramipril (Altace®) and trandolapril (Mavik®).
Benazepril decreases the formation of compounds and hormones that constrict blood vessels in animals with heart and vascular disease. Over-production of these compounds can cause narrowing of the blood vessels, high blood pressure and decreased blood flow to organs.
Therefore, benazepril is classified as a vasodilator and lowers blood pressure because of its relaxing effect on blood vessels.
This drug also reduces the concentrations of harmful chemicals and hormones that cause salt retention and injure the heart muscle in animals with heart failure.
Benazepril may retard the progression of kidney disease by normalizing the glomerular capillary pressure and reduction of systemic blood pressure.
Benazepril is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
Brand Names and Other Names of Benazepril
This drug is registered for use in humans only.
Human formulations: Lotension® (Novartis)
Veterinary formulations: Fortekor® (Novartis)
Uses of Benazepril for Dogs and Cats
The primary use of benazepril is for treatment and sometimes prevention of heart failure.
Benazepril is also used to treat high blood pressure.
It is also used for chronic renal insufficiency in cats.
Benazepril can be used to treat urine protein using diseases in dogs and cats, such as glomerulonephropathy.
Precautions and Side Effects
While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, benazepril can cause side effects in some animals.
Benazepril should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
Benazepril may relax blood vessels to such a degree that some animals become weak due to low blood pressure.
Less commonly, benazepril may affect the blood supply to the kidneys leading to kidney failure. This is most common in dogs and cats treated with higher doses of the drug. It is also more common in animals with kidney disease and when diuretic drugs (such as furosemide) are administered.
At normal doses in cats with renal failure, there may be an initial rise in creatinine which should be monitored. There can also be reduced erythrocyte counts and monitoring of erythrocytes is also recommended.
Benazepril may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with benazepril. Such drugs include furosemide, spironolactone, other vasodilators and certain non-steroidal anti-inflammatories.
Side effects include changes in urination, decreased appetite, vomiting, sudden lethargy or weakness. These symptoms should be reported to your veterinarian.
Side effects are more likely when benazepril is administered with other potent drugs, such as diuretics or vasodilators.
If a pet collapses while receiving benazepril, contact your veterinarian immediately.
How Benazepril Is Supplied
Benazepril is available in 5, 10, 20, and 40 mg tablets.
Fortekor® is available as 5 and 20 mg tablets.
Dosing Information of Benazepril for Dogs and Cats
Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
The typical dose of benazepril for heart failure or hypertension administered to dogs and cats is 0.12 to 0.25 mg per pound (0.25 to 0.5 mg/kg) orally once or twice a day.
The dose recommended of benazepril in cats with renal failure is 0.25 to 0.5 mg per pound (0.5 to 1.0 mg/kg ) body weight once daily.
Frequently benazepril is given with other drugs, especially in pets undergoing treatment for heart failure or severe high blood pressure. Such drugs may include a diuretic (furosemide), and/or a cardiac glycoside (digoxin).
The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless specifically directed by your veterinarian. Even if your pet feels better, the entire treatment plan should be completed to prevent relapse or prevent the development of resistance.