Enalapril is an angiotensin-converting enzyme (“ACE”) inhibitor regularly prescribed to both humans and animals to treat hypertension, cardiomyopathy, and heart disease.
Enalapril can also be used to treat kidney diseases such as chronic renal failure and protein-losing nephropathies. As with any drug, it is important to consult with a veterinarian before administering any new medication to your pets, as they know their unique medical history and needs best.
What does it do?
ACE inhibitors work to relax the arteries and veins to lower blood pressure by preventing an enzyme in the body from producing angiotensin II, (this substance constricts blood vessels and releases hormones that contribute to high blood pressure).
When blood cells are forced to narrow resulting in high blood pressure, a pet’s heart must work harder to pump blood and oxygen throughout the body.
Enalapril widens the diameter of these blood pressure which allows for blood pressure to decrease, making it easier for the heart to do its job.
Additionally, ACE inhibitors can increase blood flow to the kidneys and decrease the amount of protein being evacuated from the kidneys into the urine. This can be helpful when treating pets with kidney disease.
Common side effects
While enalapril is commonly used to treat illness in pets, ingesting too much can be dangerous. Consumption of toxic amounts of enalapril can result in hypotension (low blood pressure), lethargy, weakness, vomiting, and diarrhea. These clinical signs are more likely to develop in pets with underlying medical problems such as kidney failure, heart disease, etc.
How will I know if my dog is experiencing Enalapril poisoning?
If you think your pet has consumed a toxic amount of enalapril, contact your veterinarian and watch for changes in behavior. Signs of enalapril poisoning can include:
- Loss of appetite
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Tachycardia (high heart rate)
Side effects are more likely to occur in pets with preexisting medical issues, or in pets taking additional medications like diuretics.