What is Enalapril, Benazepril, or Lisinopril?

Benazepril, enalapril, and lisinopril are in a family of medications called angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or ACE inhibitors (ACEi). These medications work to prevent  activating certain substances in the body that cause vasoconstriction (tightening of the blood vessels) of both arteries and veins. The medication also works to help with the retention of salt and water, and fibrosis (scarring) within the heart muscle.

Benazepril for dogs and cats is often prescribed to help treat heart failure and high blood pressure but is also good for various types of kidney diseases. These drugs make it easier for blood to circulate and are often used alongside other heart medications to help your pet live its most comfortable life.

Keeping your pet happy, safe, and healthy is a no-brainer for most cat and dog owners. That means frequent check-ups at the vet, consistent grooming, and sometimes making sure your pet takes their daily medications. Yes, getting your cat or dog to take a drug like benazepril is never fun (we’ve all had to do the “hide the pill in cheese” method), but it’s medications like these that can sometimes help your furry friend live that happy and healthy life that you’re looking for!

girl kissing her cat on the head

Here at CVCA, our board-certified veterinary cardiologists want all of our patients and their owners to feel confident about the medications administered to their pet. On our medications pages, you’ll find a comprehensive description of the  drug, its common uses, side effects, and much more. So keep reading to learn more about benazepril for dogs and cats and what you should be aware of when your pet is taking this medication.

What is Benazepril Used to Treat?

vet giving a dog a pill

Taking care of your pet’s heart and cardiac health is our top priority at CVCA. If you’re reading this page, you’ve likely been prescribed benazepril for dogs or cats for a specific heart- or kidney-related illness. Here are a few of the most common diseases that benazepril is used to treat:

  • Congestive Heart Failure: When the cat or dog’s heart can’t adequately pump blood throughout the body, this is called congestive heart failure. We use ACEi’s to help treat this.
  • Degenerative Valve Disease: When the valves between your pet’s atrium and ventricles start to wear down, there is less efficient blood flow in your cat or dog’s heart. This wear down is called degenerative valve disease.
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy: Dilated cardiomyopathy happens when the muscles of your pet’s heart weaken and thin, causing the heart to enlarge and stretch.
  • Feline Cardiomyopathy: Benazepril is used to treat all forms of feline cardiomyopathy, and the disease is more common in certain cat breeds like Maine Coons, Ragdolls, Sphynx’s, and others.
  • Hypertension or High Blood Pressure: Benazepril is often used as a secondary medication to help treat high blood pressure or hypertension in dogs and cats.
  • Protein Losing Nephropathy: This is a form of kidney disease usually seen in dogs where proteins and blood serum seep into your dog’s urine.

What Are Some Adverse Effects of Benazepril?

As with any medication, your pet could have an allergic reaction or any number of other negative responses—benazepril side effects are no different. If you notice any adverse effects in your pet after taking this medication, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Also, please contact CVCA should any of these symptoms be noted:

animal prescription cap
  • Vomiting, Decreased Appetite, or Diarrhea: These gastrointestinal issues are   fairly common side effects, but make sure to let your vet know if any of these symptoms continue.
  • Low Blood Pressure, Lethargy, or Weakness: A less common side effect is lethargy or tiredness in your pet from benazepril.
  • Increased Potassium Levels: Be aware that a higher-than-normal potassium level can lead to something called “hyperkalemia” in your pet. Your veterinarian will monitor your pet’s blood levels for any signs of this issue.
  • Elevated Kidney Values: While we use benazepril to treat some forms of kidney disease, it should also be made aware that this medication elevates kidney values.

Interactions with Other Drugs

Before administering benazepril to your cat or dog, make sure that your veterinarian is already aware of any other medications your pet currently takes. The board-certified veterinary cardiologists at CVCA have already taken these medications and interactions into account before prescribing benazepril, but please contact us regarding any other concurrent medications your pet may be prescribed. Here are some of the common interactions we see:

  • Beta-Blockers (Atenolol), Amlodipine, Diltiazem, Hydralazine: When benazepril is used in combination with any of these medications, there is an increased risk of low heart rate and low blood pressure.
  • Spironolactone, Tumil-K, Potassium Supplements: There is a high risk for high potassium levels when this medication is used with certain types of other potassium supplements.
  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatories (Rimadyl, Metacam, Deramaxx, etc.): Benazepril can increase the effectiveness of these types of drugs.
cat looking at pills in a vet's hand

Patient Information on Benazepril

At CVCA, we want to make sure you’re aware of all of the possible benazepril side effects and know how to administer the medication easily. Your CVCA veterinarian will give you detailed instructions, but here are a few essential tips to remember:

  • Benazepril can be given with food and other cardiac medications as outlined by CVCA.
  • This medication is usually given in pill form or reformulated into a flavored liquid, whatever is easiest for your cat or dog.
  • Depending on your pet, benazepril is usually given once a day to cats and twice a day to dogs.
  • We recommend closely monitoring your cat’s or dog’s blood pressure and heart rate while on this medication and having it rechecked at least every six months.
  • If anesthesia is ever required for your pet, contact your veterinarian about the dosage since benazepril could cause dosage changes.

Dosage Forms of Benazepril

Benazepril for dogs and cats comes in several medication forms. If your pet has difficulty taking one type of this medication, talk to one of the vets at CVCA to see what other forms may be possible. Here are the most common dosages you will see prescribed:

  • Enalapril Maleate – 2.5mg, 5mg, 10mg, and 20mg
  • Benazepril HCL Oral Film Coated Tablets – 5mg, 10mg, 20mg, and 40mg
  • Lisinopril – 2.5mg, 5mg, 10mg, 20mg, and 40mg

Benazepril Synonyms

Benazepril is a type of medication, not a brand name. Your pet’s medication may be listed as one of the following synonyms for the drug:

  • Lotensin
  • Fortekor
  • Benazepril Hydrochloride
  • Enalapril
  • Vasotec
  • Enacard
  • Enalapril Maleate

Do You Have Questions About Your Pet’s Medications?