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Enalapril Maleate for Dogs and Cats

By Barbara Forney, VMD

Commonly prescribed for: Heart and/or Kidney Conditions

Species: Dogs and Cats

Therapeutic Class: Vasodilator


General Drug Information and Indications

Enalapril is a drug that is used in dogs and cats with heart and/or kidney problems. Enalapril causes small blood vessels to relax (vasodilation). This makes it easier for blood to circulate, which then decreases blood pressure and decreases the work load on the heart. Enalapril is frequently used with other heart medications, such as diuretics or beta blockers. Enalapril is also used for the treatment of high blood pressure (hypertension) in dogs.


Enalapril is FDA approved for use in dogs, but not in cats or other companion animals. When the appropriate form or dose of this drug is not available through a veterinary pharmaceutical manufacturer, it may be compounded by a specialty pharmacy.

How to Give this Medication

Give this medication to your pet exactly as your veterinarian prescribes. If you miss giving your pet a dose of enalapril, give the next dose as soon as you remember or, if it is close to the next scheduled dose, return to the regular schedule. Do not double dose to catch up.

Wash your hands after giving your pet this medication.

Side Effects

Be sure to discuss any side effects with your veterinarian immediately.

The most-common side effects are low blood pressure, dizziness, weakness and stomach upset.

Less-common side effects include kidney damage and changes in blood potassium levels.

Precautions

  • Keep this and all drugs out of reach of children. Enalapril is a prescription drug and should be used according to your veterinarian's directions. It should only be given to the animal for which it was prescribed. Do not give this medication to a person.
  •  Pets receiving enalapril will need regular monitoring, including blood chemistry, kidney function and blood pressure.
  •  Although enalapril is used to treat some forms of chronic kidney failure, there are instances in both dogs and cats where enalapril therapy has worsened the underlying kidney problems.
  •  Enalapril is eliminated from the body by the kidneys. Animals with decreased kidney function will need additional monitoring.
  •  Enalapril may change the insulin requirements in diabetic animals. It is likely that a diabetic pet will need additional monitoring.
  •  Enalapril is metabolized to the active form in the liver. Pets with decreased liver function may not be able to adequately utilize this drug.
  •  Enalapril should be avoided in pregnant or lactating animals.

Drug Interactions

Be sure to review with your veterinarian any medications or supplements your pet may be receiving. Pets receiving enalapril may be on multiple medications because of the severity of their health problems. Careful monitoring and adjustment of drug doses and therapies may be necessary to achieve the right balance.

Diuretics, such as furosemide or spironolactone, and other vasodilators drugs may increase the incidence of low blood pressure or change blood potassium levels.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including aspirin, should be avoided in animals on enalapril because of increased risk of kidney damage.

Overdose

If you suspect your pet or another animal was overdosed accidentally or has eaten this medication inadvertently, contact your veterinarian or the A.S.P.C.A.'s Animal Poison Control Center at 888.426.4435. Always bring the prescription container with you when you take your pet for treatment.

If you or someone else has accidentally ingested this medication call the National Capital Poison Center at 800.222.1222.

Storage

Different strengths or dosage forms of enalapril maleate may have different storage requirements. Read the labeling or ask your pharmacist for the storage requirements of the prescription you receive.

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