Enalapril is used in dogs and cats to treat heart disease, high blood pressure and even kidney disease. It is also known as Enacard® or Vasotec®.
What Is Enalapril and How Does It Work in Dogs and Cats?
Enalapril is an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor (or ACE inhibitor). What this means is that enalapril stops the angiotensin converting enzyme from producing a compound called angiotensin-ll, which is a potent vasoconstrictor. Vasoconstrictors cause the narrowing of blood vessels which ultimately leads to an increase in blood pressure and a need for the heart to work harder to pump the blood through the body.
In contrast, enalapril acts as a vasodilator because it blocks the production of angiotensin-ll. Essentially, by acting as a vasodilator, enalapril acts to increase the diameter of the blood vessels instead ofnarrowing them. This increase in the diameter of the blood vessels results in a decrease in blood pressure and makes it easier for the heart to push the blood through the blood vessels to the body.
Enalapril also increases blood flow to the kidneys, which may be helpful for some dogs and cats that are experiencing kidney disease. It is believed that enalapril and other ACE inhibitors probably decrease the amount of protein that is allowed to escape through the kidneys and into the urine.
What Diseases Can Enalapril Treat for Dogs and Cats?
Enalapril is used in both the dog and the cat to treat:
- heart failure
- hypertension (high blood pressure)
- chronic renal (kidney) failure
- protein-losing nephropathy (kidney disease in which protein is lost through the urine)
When enalapril is used to treat heart failure, it is most often used together with furosemide (Lasix®). The two medications used together can increase the quality of life for a dog or cat in heart failure but it is not known whether the pet's life can actually be prolonged by using the enalapril and furosemide together.
When using enalapril together with furosemide, it may be necessary to use a lower dosage of furosemide to avoid decreasing the blood pressure to a dangerously low level.
What Side Effects Can Be Seen with Enalapril in the Dog and Cat?
Pet owners using enalapril for their dog or cat should be aware that side effects, though relatively rare, can occur. These side effects may include:
- lack of appetite
Dogs and cats receiving enalapril should be examined regularly by a veterinarian as well. Periodic blood screening may be necessary to monitor for signs of kidney disease and increased blood potassium levels. The pet's blood pressure should be monitored periodically as well.
Enalapril (Enacard®, Vasotec®) is commonly used in the both the dog and cat to treat a range of diseases, including heart and kidney disease.