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ACE-inhibitors for dogs are commonly used for the treatment of cardiovascular disease and kidney disease with loss of protein in urine and sometimes to control high blood pressure. Several scientific studies have demon-strated the usefulness of these drugs in reducing signs of heart failure, improving quality of life as well as prolonging life in dogs with cardiovascular disease (i.e. degenerative valve disease, dilated cardiomyopathy).
ACE-inhibitors for dogs block the action of an enzyme (ACE) responsible for the production of a substance called angiotensin II. This leads to mild dilation of the blood vessels, blocks the bodies attempt to retain sodium and fluids and also counteracts some of the natural mechanisms of adaptation of the cardiovascular system to failure that, although beneficial in the short-term, may become harmful for the heart (i.e. hypertrophy and fibrosis) in the long-term.
ACE-inhibitors for dogs are usually well tolerated. Nevertheless, as is the case with all drugs, a few side-effects may occur. Gastrointestinal distur-bances (anorexia, vomit, diarrhea), weakness, low blood pressure, high blood levels of potassium, kidney dysfunction. These signs are more commonly seen shortly after the start of therapy. If you believe your dog is experiencing any of these signs, please contact your vet.
Before starting an ACE-inhibitor, and approximately after 5 days, blood pressure measurement and a few blood tests will be advised by your vet/cardiologist in order to assess appropriate kidney function and electrolyte levels and ensure low blood pressure does not occur as a result of treatment. Urine analysis may also be part of the necessary tests. These checks will then be recommended at a regular basis at the time of each control examination.