Enalapril (Enacard®, Vasotec®) for Cats and Dogs

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Overview of Enalapril for Canines and Felines

  •  Enalapril, also known as Enacard® or Vasotec®, is used for cats and dogs to treat and prevent heart failure, high blood pressure (hypertension) and proteinuria. 
  • Enalapril belongs to a general class of drugs known as angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-inhibitors). Other related drugs in this class include benazepril (Lotensin®), captopril (Capoten®), fosinopril (Monopril®), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril®), moexipril (Univasc®), quinapril (Accupril®), ramipril (Altace®) and trandolapril (Mavik®).
  • Enalapril 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, the ACE-inhibitors often are classified as vasodilators because of their relaxing effect on blood vessels.
  • These drugs also reduce the concentrations of harmful chemicals and hormones that injure heart muscle in animals with heart failure.
  • Enalapril is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
  • Brand Names and Other Names of Enalapril

  • This drug is registered for use in animals and humans.
  • Human formulations: Generic preparations are available through a variety of manufacturers
  • Veterinary formulations: Enacard® (Merial)
  • Uses of Enalapril for Dogs and Cats

  • The primary use of enalapril is for the treatment and sometimes prevention of heart failure. Enalapril and related drugs are also used to treat high blood pressure.
  • Enalapril is also used to treat excessive protein loss in the urine (proteinuria). 
  • There is also some benefit suggested in giving Enalapril to pets with high blood pressure secondary to renal (kidney) failure. 
  • Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, enalapril can cause side effects in some animals.
  • Enalapril should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • Enalapril may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with enalapril. Such drugs include furosemide, spironolactone and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories.
  • Enalapril may relax blood vessels to such a degree that some animals become weak due to low blood pressure.
  • Less commonly, enalapril 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.
  • 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 enalapril is given with other potent drugs, such as diuretics or drugs that act to relax blood vessels.
  • How Enalapril Is Supplied

  • Enalapril is available in 1 mg, 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg and 20 mg tablets.
  • Dosing Information of Enalapril for Dogs and Cats

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • The typical dose of Enalapril administered to dogs is 0.25 mg per pound (0.5 mg/kg) once or twice a day orally.
  • For cats, the typical dose of Enalapril is 0.12 to 0.25 mg per pound (0.25 to 0.5 mg/kg) once or twice a day orally.
  • Frequently enalapril is given with other drugs, especially in dogs or cats undergoing treatment for heart failure or severe high blood pressure. In these situations, a lower initial dose may be prescribed to allow the pet time to get used to the new medication.
  • 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.
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