Using Enalapril (Enacard, Vasotec) for Dogs

Sick Dog On Exam Table

Photographer's Choice / LWA / Getty Images

Enalapril (trade name Enacard or Vasotec) is used in dogs to treat heart disease, high blood pressure, and even kidney disease. As with many drugs, it can cause a few side effects.

Mode of Action of Enalapril

Any narrowing of blood vessels normally leads to an increase in blood pressure and a need for the heart to work harder to pump blood through the body. Enalapril is an ACE inhibitor drug that blocks an enzyme from producing a compound which constricts and tightens these blood vessels.

Because it blocks the production of the "tightening" enzyme, the effect of enalapril is to widen the diameter of the blood vessels. This increase in their diameter results in a decrease in blood pressure, making it easier for the heart to push blood through the vessels of the body.

Enalapril also increases blood flow to the kidneys, which may be helpful for some dogs that are experiencing kidney disease. Enalapril also decreases the amount of useable protein that is allowed to escape through the kidneys and into the urine.

Diseases Enalapril Can Treat

In dogs, Enalapril is used to treat heart failure, hypertension (high blood pressure), chronic renal (kidney) failure. It can also treat a kidney disease called protein-losing nephropathy that results in protein loss through urination.

When enalapril is used to treat heart failure, it is most often used alongside Lasix (furosemide). These two medications used together can increase the quality of life for a dog in heart failure. However, it is not known whether the pet's life can be prolonged by using these drugs together.

Side Effects of Enalapril Use

Pet owners using enalapril for their dog should be aware that side effects, though relatively rare, can occur. These may include vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, weakness, or rashes.

Because so many systems in the body are affected, dogs receiving enalapril should be examined regularly by a veterinarian. Periodic blood screening may be necessary to monitor for increased blood potassium levels. The pet's blood pressure should be monitored periodically, too, as complications can potentially arise from the prolonged use of enalapril.

Considerations Before Using Enalapril in Dogs

Be sure to check with your veterinarian about dosage amounts if you are using enalapril together with furosemide as both are used to treat high blood pressure.

Be aware that you should not administer enalapril to your pet in conjunction with spironolactone, a diuretic used to treat conditions where the body retains too much fluid. Enalapril should also not be used at the same time as any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.
Article Sources
The Spruce Pets uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure. Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.

  2. Angiotensin-converting Enzyme Inhibitors. Merck Manual Veterinary Manual.

  3. Enalapril. VCA Hospitals

  4. Schröder, J., et al. Combined use of an ACE-inhibitor and spironolactone in patients with heart insufficiencyMedizinische Monatsschrift Fur Pharmazeuten, 2017;40(1): 24–26.