Enalapril is an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor that is commonly prescribed by veterinarians for the treatment of high blood pressure in cats and dogs. It can also be used in conjunction with other medications for the treatment of mild to severe heart failure. Popular brand names for Enalapril include Enacard and Vasotec.

How Does Enalapril Work?

Enalapril’s primary purpose is to help the heart beat easier and more efficiently. It does this blocking a specific enzyme in the body that normally causes blood vessels to constrict. By blocking this enzyme, the blood vessels can remain relaxed so the pet’s blood pressure can decrease to allow the blood and oxygen to flow to the heart more effectively. Enalapril also helps to reduce fluid build-up in the lungs.

As a precautionary measure, your veterinarian may require your pet to undergo periodic kidney and liver tests while taking this medication.

Enalapril Precautions & Interactions

Enalapril should never be administered to a dog or cat that is pregnant as it has been shown to cause birth defects. It is also important to inform your veterinarian of all the medications your pet is currently on before administering Enalapril. The medication can cause an interaction with aspirin and other NSAIDS, potassium supplements and diuretics.

Possible Side Effects of Enalapril

Serious side effects that have been associated with Enalapril include frequent or non-existent urination, fainting, fever, chills, bleeding, rapid weight gain, bruising and swelling. Less severe side effects can include, but aren’t limited to diarrhea, cough, loss of appetite, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, itching, skin rash, dry mouth or problems sleeping. If your pet exhibits serious side effects, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Enalapril can also cause an allergic reaction in some dogs and cats. Signs that your pet may be allergic include swelling of the lips, face or tongue, hives or difficulty breathing.

Administration of Enalapril

When your pet is prescribed Enalapril, it is very important that you follow the directions of your veterinarian and the recommended precautions provided by the compounding pharmacy. Never give your pet more than the prescribed dosage at a given time, even if you miss a dose. If you miss a dose, give a dose as soon as possible unless it is near the time for their next dose. If that is the case, skip the missed dose and re-start the program with the next dose.

When giving your pet Enalapril, always make sure they have plenty of water available to drink as they can get thirsty while taking this medication. This medication can be administered with or without food.

How to Store Enalapril

Your pet’s Enalapril prescription should be stored at room temperature and away from heat or moisture.