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Benazepril is an ACE inhibitor used to relax blood vessels and maximize blood flow to the heart in canines with heart and renal diseases. Benazepril belongs to a unique class of medications called prodrugs. Prodrugs are completely ineffective until synthesized by the liver into a bioactive form, which for benazepril, is benazeprilat.  

Benazepril stops the body from producing angiotensin II, a hormone that constricts blood vessels and raises blood pressure. Decreasing levels of angiotensin II gradually lowers blood pressure over time. 

This medication also helps reduce the progression of kidney disease in a couple of ways. The active metabolite of benazepril increases capillary blood flow within the kidneys, which in turn lowers the glomerular capillary pressure. This combination of effects helps the kidneys to filter blood more efficiently while reducing levels of protein in the urine.

Dosage

A therapeutic dose of benazepril for canines is usually between 0.12 and 0.25 mg per pound of body weight. 

Dosage instructions

Most vets recommend benazepril tablets by mouth one to two times a day. Food doesn’t interfere with benazepril’s absorption, and many pet owners like to give it with meals since it can cause nausea in some dogs. Always follow your veterinarian’s dosage instructions.

Efficacy

One study found that benazepril considerably improved symptoms of congestive heart failure, including exercise intolerance and cough. A clinical study of canines with chronic kidney disease found benazepril significantly reduced urine protein levels, though researchers were unable to determine if this had an impact on lifespan.

Research on benazepril’s ACE-inhibitory effects in dogs found even small doses resulted in a marked decline of angiotensin II, the hormone responsible blood pressure spikes.

Side effects

  • Excessive thirst

  • Concentrated urine

  • Muscle weakness

  • Skin blisters

  • Nausea

  • Poor appetite

  • Fever

  • Sudden change in urination frequency

  • Jaundice

  • Rash

  • Change in color of stool or urine

  • Flu symptoms

  • Dizziness upon standing

  • Loss of coordination

  • Vision changes

  • Abnormally high potassium levels

  • Renal damage

  • Angioedema

  • Electrolyte imbalances

Considerations

Pets with low electrolyte levels or a history of hypotension should be carefully monitored while taking this medication. Never administer benzepril within 36 hours of another blood pressure medication.

Taking supplements or foods fortified with potassium with benazepril can lead to hyperkalemia in both pets and humans. Read your pet’s food labels and avoid giving potassium-rich foods like bananas and blueberries while they’re on this medication.

Do not use benazepril in pregnant dogs. Studies show this medication interferes with fetal development and carries a heightened risk of fetal and newborn demise.

Drug interactions


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  • NSAIDs 

  • Lithium

  • Some types of diuretics

  • Blood pressure medications

  • Any diabetes medication

  • Opiates

  • Potassium supplements

  • Akineton

  • Cyclosporin

  • Digoxin

  • Certain immunosuppressants

  • Celebrex

  • Angiotensin receptor blockers

  • Meloxicam (diclofenac)

  • Chemotherapy drugs

  • Colestipol

  • Cholestyramine (questran)

  • Methotrexate

  • Benzodiazepines

  • Barbituates

  • Muscle relaxers

  • Antidepressants

Allergic reactions and sensitivity

ACE inhibitors are associated with a rare but severe form of drug allergy that can result in angioedema, a subdermal allergic reaction. Signs of ACE inhibitor-induced angioedema are trouble swallowing and swelling of subcutaneous tissues in the tongue, throat, intestines, legs, and groin. This condition can be life-threatening if the swelling spreads to the larynx and restricts airflow and blood oxygenation. 

Do not give benazepril for dogs with a known allergy to ACE inhibitors such as enalapril or vasotec. Contact a vet immediately if your dog shows signs of an allergic reaction to this medication. 

Frequently asked questions

Will benazepril make my dog fat?

Weight gain isn’t a side effect of Benazepril. If your dog experiences unexplainable weight gain, schedule an appointment with a vet to make sure they’re not retaining water. 

What are the brand names of benazepril for dogs?

Lotensin, Fortekor, Bexepril are all brands of Benazepil prescribed for dogs. This is not a complete list.

Are benazepril and enalapril the same thing?

No. Benazepril and Enalapril are different medications, though they both are ACE-inhibitors and treat the same conditions.

How long does it take Benazepril to lower blood pressure?

Although Benazepril starts working within 40 minutes, it can take up to 2 weeks for any noticeable changes in blood pressure or urine protein levels. 

Does my dog need regular check-ups while on Benazepril?

Yes, your vet should schedule regular appointments to assess your pet’s condition and monitor their blood pressure, sodium, and potassium levels. 

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Benazepril Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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