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Health & Wellness

Does your dog have high blood pressure? Enalapril might help them

Some dogs take enalapril for life.

So your vet discovered your pup has high blood pressure at your most recent appointment. Did they prescribe your dog a brand of enalapril, a drug used to help decrease increased blood pressure in dogs?

Keep reading to learn how your pup might benefit from this medication and the side effects to watch out for if they’re already taking it. Plus, insights on other conditions enalapril treats.

What’s enalapril used for in dogs?

Enalapril is one of those pet medications prescribed to treat many conditions by lowering blood pressure and reducing kidney protein loss (they’re also medically referred to as angiotensin-converting enzyme [ACE] inhibitors).

“This drug is used to treat high blood pressure, heart disease and protein-losing nephropathy, a type of kidney disease, in dogs,” Dr. Emily Singler, VMD, Fetch’s on-staff veterinarian, explains. 

While enalapril is the actual drug, your veterinarian will prescribe your pup a brand name like Epaned or Vasotec.

How much enalapril should dogs have? 

As with most medications, the disclaimer regarding dosage generally remains the same. “The dosage will depend on the size of the dog and the condition for which it’s being used to treat,” Dr. Singler says. 

Your veterinarian will also consider the severity of your pup’s condition to determine how much enalapril is safe to administer. 

RELATED: Prednisone for dogs: usage and side effects

Are there any side effects of enalapril for dogs?

Giving medication to your dog, especially for the first time, means there’s a chance your dog will experience some side effects. But all pups are different — and depending on your dog’s dosage amount and condition, they might experience either no, minor or more intense reactions from enalapril. 

“Side effects as the result of taking enalapril can include coughing, nausea and/or vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and decreased appetite,” Dr. Singler shares. “For any concerning side effects, I recommend not giving further doses without discussing it with a veterinarian. That said, this medication doesn’t commonly cause severe side effects.”

How long do dogs typically take enalapril?

Your veterinarian will advise how long your pup takes enalapril, depending on the condition being treated. 

“Enalapril is often a lifelong medication,” Dr. Singler says. “Unless dogs don’t tolerate it or another medication is used instead.”

Are there alternatives to enalapril, and if so, what are they?

There are alternatives to enalapril if it isn’t the right treatment for your pup. “Benazepril is another ACE inhibitor similar to enalapril and can be used for the same indications,” Dr. Singler says. “In cases of high blood pressure, other medications will sometimes be used instead of or in addition to enalapril if it doesn’t bring the blood pressure down sufficiently.”  

Work with your vet to figure out the right treatment plan for your pup.

The Dig, Fetch Pet Insurance's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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