Enalapril, known by brand names Enacard or Vasotec, is a valuable medication used in veterinary medicine to treat various conditions in cats, including heart failure, hypertension (high blood pressure), chronic kidney disease, and protein loss through urine. Let’s delve into how enalapril works, its common applications, potential side effects, and address some frequently asked questions.
About Enalapril for Cats
Enalapril belongs to a class of drugs called angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. These inhibitors block the conversion of the protein hormone angiotensin-I to angiotensin-II. Angiotensin-II is responsible for causing blood vessels to constrict and stimulating the production of aldosterone, a hormone that can increase blood pressure.
By blocking the conversion to angiotensin-II, enalapril helps to lower blood pressure and dilate blood vessels. In cats with congestive heart failure, this dilation alleviates strain on the heart by reducing its workload. Additionally, enalapril aids in preserving kidney function by relieving resistance in the kidney’s filtration system, known as the glomerulus.
What Is Enalapril Used for in Cats?
Enalapril serves three primary purposes in feline treatment:
Second-line treatment for hypertension: When amlodipine, a different medication, fails to normalize a cat’s blood pressure, enalapril or its close cousin, benazepril, are commonly prescribed. Telmisartan, a newer medication gaining popularity, may also be considered.
Addressing proteinuria: Enalapril is effective in lowering pressure in the glomerulus’s tiny capillary blood vessels, reducing protein loss in the urine. High levels of proteinuria can signify kidney dysfunction in many cases.
Aiding congestive heart failure (CHF) treatment: Enalapril isn’t always the first-line choice, but it can reduce blood pressure and alleviate the heart’s workload in specific cases of CHF.
Side Effects of Enalapril for Cats
Enalapril is generally well-tolerated when administered at appropriate dosages, making serious side effects uncommon. Some cats may experience vomiting or diarrhea, which can be mitigated by giving the medication with food.
It’s important to note that excessive dosages or accidental additional doses can lead to low blood pressure, known as hypotension. Dosage adjustments should only be made based on recheck blood pressure measurements conducted by a veterinarian.
In cases of congestive heart failure, enalapril requires careful usage, especially when there are underlying blood electrolyte abnormalities or heart disease complications. A board-certified veterinary cardiologist is best equipped to assess the appropriateness of enalapril in such cases.
Enalapril for Cats With Kidney Disease
Enalapril must be administered cautiously to cats with existing kidney disease. While it reduces protein loss, it also slows down the filtration rate in the kidneys. Consequently, waste products like blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine might accumulate in the bloodstream, leading to azotemia. Azotemia can cause adverse effects such as loss of appetite and vomiting.
Cats with mild to moderate kidney disease may still benefit from enalapril, as the advantages of reducing blood pressure and protein loss often outweigh potential risks. However, enalapril is typically inappropriate for use in cats with advanced kidney disease or acute kidney injury.
Enalapril’s safety during pregnancy or nursing is questionable and contraindicated in some countries. It’s crucial to consult with a veterinarian regarding potential drug interactions if your cat is taking other medications.
Enalapril for Cats Dosage
Determining the appropriate dosage and frequency of enalapril for cats depends on the specific use case. As enalapril needs to be used cautiously, especially with certain medical conditions, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian to determine the starting dosage.
Dosage adjustments should only be made based on recheck testing, including blood pressure measurements and urine protein level checks. It’s not advisable to modify enalapril dosages without professional guidance.
Enalapril is an invaluable medication for addressing high blood pressure, urine protein loss, and heart disease in cats. However, its usage requires careful consideration, as it may not be suitable for all scenarios. If you believe your cat could benefit from enalapril, it’s essential to have a conversation with your veterinarian to ensure the best course of action.
Remember, for any further information or assistance, you can reach out to Katten TrimSalon.