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benazepril for heart issues ?

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  • benazepril for heart issues ?

    Has anyone ever used Benazepril for a horse with a heart murmur and valve regurgitation ? I’ve gotten mixed reviews from the vets I’ve consulted (some say it could help slow down the progression of the heart disease, other day it’s not really worth it). It’s 12 pills twice a day and about $60 a month, for the rest of his life. If anyone has used it would your horse eat them in their feed ?

    thanks for any advice, this is all very upsetting.

  • #2
    To answer your question: not familiar with this drug or its use. Below is my experience with heart problems.

    I had a TB dressage horse some years ago. Bought him at 15, very limited PPE. At 17 he had a vet check, minor belly ache. Diagnosed w/ A-fib and a murmur. Took him to Ohio State for evaluation and they tried him on a drug called Quinidine to bring heart back to normal rhythm. It didn't work. Since he was otherwise healthy, fit and happy I was told to keep going with him but to watch for signs of exercise intolerance, lethargy, depression. Six years later, (having shown Prix St Georges, and been leased out to lower level rider) had his heart evaluated again - Things had deteriorated a bit but still considered mild-moderate congestive heart failure. At that time he was also diagnosed with cervical arthritis. About a year and 1/2 later quit riding him. The heart thing finally did him in around 26 yrs old - he had been showing mild signs of decline - some appetite loss, less generally interested in the world. Some body discomfort due to arthritis. One day he had ventral edema - elbow to sheath. Vet put stethoscope on him and said his heart sounded like a sneaker in the dryer. Not good. We put him down a few days later.

    Yes the diagnosis is quite upsetting. But depending on the horse and the circumstances, it is not dire. Re the drug, the 12 pills/day if he wont eat in feed would bother me more than the $60 per month. The mixed reviews would also trouble me more than the cost. How old is your horse? What does he do? What would your expectations be? Are there potential side effects These are things you might want to consider...

    Lastly - when I went to Ohio State, (vet teaching school) there was a herd of little vet students, scopes around their necks, all wanting to have a chance to see a heart problem as they are not that common. What that tells me is that its therefore hard to do good studies due to small pool of candidates. Google tells me that most work has been done on healthy horses to study this drug but IMO while they can measure this and that, its just not the same...


    • Original Poster

      Thank you for the thoughtful response. He’s 15, raced and evented and never showed any issues. I didn’t do a PPE when I got him many years ago so not sure how long it’s been an issue. My plan is to do lower level dressage with him.


      • #4
        I'm not aware of any horses on benazepril for heart issues. I do work at a compounding vet pharmacy and we do sell a lot of benazepril for small animals. So cats and dogs for sure, but I don't recall any high doses for horses or any equine vets purchasing it.

        But saying that, I wouldn't see why it couldn't work for horses...


        • #5
          Can't speak with it's use with horses but I had 2 older dogs on it and I know they lived longer fuller lives with it and other meds. But as I said dogs vs horses.

          Crayola Posse: Violet Blue


          • #6
            I had a draft cross that we almost did the meds with, but ended up euthanizing him unfortunately— the CHF was too far along. In his case a PPE wouldn’t have helped, the afib came and went. My vet listened to his heart during checkups and never had a clue he had an issue. Necropsy showed no abnormality, it was described as an electrical issue. He had bouts of exercise intolerance but at the time I thought it was more breed related, or conditioning.

            i do recall the hospital saying the drugs weren’t well studied in horses.

            Imo I’d try the meds, the price isn’t super outrageous.

            Best of luck.