Nelio for cats and dogs



Active ingredient

Benazepril Hydrochloride


Heart /Kidney /Blood pressure

What is Nelio?

Nelio is a brand name for a drug with the active ingredient benazepril hydrochloride manufactured by Ceva Animal Health. Nelio is an ACE inhibitor, a drug that widens heart vessels to reduce blood pressure and help heart function. It is used to manage kidney failure and high blood pressure in cats and dogs, and can also reduce the symptoms of heart problems.

What do Nelio tablets do? 

Nelio is an ACE inhibitor that makes blood vessels wider by stopping the Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) from working properly. With more space in wider blood vessels, blood can move more easily and is under less pressure. This means Nelio reduces the heart’s workload because the heart can pump blood more easily through these wider vessels.

Nelio is useful for cats with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Pets with CKD often have high blood pressure in their kidneys, which causes proteins to leak into their urine (proteinuria). Nelio lowers this blood pressure, which helps reduce proteinuria. This can slow down further kidney damage and the progression of CKD.

Nelio is also useful to treat the symptoms of congestive heart failure (CHF) caused by heart diseases in dogs. Because it reduces the blood pressure, it stops fluid from being ‘forced out’ of the blood vessels and into the lungs, which is what causes the cough in congestive heart failure.

What is Nelio used for?

Nelio is mainly used in cats with kidney failure (CKD), to reduce the protein in their urine, and in dogs with congestive heart failure (CHF) caused by heart problems. However, it might be used ‘off license’ in other diseases such as high blood pressure (hypertension), if another product isn’t available.

What are the side effects of Nelio tablets for cats and dogs?

Nelio is generally well-tolerated in pets. However, as with all medications, Nelio may have side effects. Side effects in cats and dogs include:

  • Reduced appetite: Some pets may have a reduced appetite when on Nelio, but this is a rare side effect.
  • Lethargy: Pets may appear weak (lethargic) due to the drop in blood pressure. This is a rare side effect and is usually temporary.
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea: Some cats may vomit or get diarrhoea when taking Nelio. If your cat starts vomiting on this medication, please contact your vet.
  • Dehydration (cats only): Dehydration is a reported but rare side effect of Nelio. It is essential that you provide plenty of fluids and encourage your cat to drink, as dehydration can be serious in cats with CKD.
  • Incoordination (dogs only): Some dogs have been reported to become wobbly and incoordinated when they first start taking Nelio.
  • Increased blood creatinine levels: Blood creatinine levels indicate how well the kidneys are working, so higher creatinine can signal kidney problems. However, creatinine levels might rise when your pet starts taking Nelio due to lowered blood pressure. Your vet will evaluate your pet’s overall health, including their history and physical exam results, to determine if this is something to worry about.

Remember, not all pets will have these side effects, and the benefits of using Nelio often outweigh the risks. However, if you see any worrying symptoms or changes in your pet’s behaviour or health, contact your vet right away, even if the symptoms aren’t listed here. Your vet will give advice and, if needed, adjust the treatment plan to keep your pet safe and healthy.

Vets also have a duty to report any suspected side effects to the drug manufacturer, who will investigate further. This is part of the post-marketing surveillance process and ensures that medicines remain safe and effective.

How to give Nelio safely

  • Follow vet instructions: Give Nelio as directed by your vet. Never alter the dose without asking  your veterinarian. Contact your vet if you’re unsure of the dose, or if you feel that the dose needs to be changed.
  • Give with or without food: You can give Nelio to your pet with or without food, but be consistent with dosing your pet. Contact your vet if you have missed a dose.
  • Keep regular veterinary check-ups: Attend scheduled vet appointments, so that your vet can assess your pet and adjust the dose if needed. Your vet may suggest bloodwork to monitor your cat.
  • Storage: Keep Nelio in a cool, dry place, and away from children and pets. Do not store above 25 °C. Be particularly careful with half-tablets – they should be stored in the blister pack and discarded if not used after 48 hours.
  • Handling: To avoid eating small amounts of Nelio by accident, wash your hands after giving this medication to your pet. Pregnant women should not handle Nelio.
  • Contact your vet in case of overdose: If you accidentally overdose your pet, contact your vet for advice. Depending on the severity of the overdose, your vet may recommend monitoring or treatment (e.g. with intravenous fluids).

What sort of monitoring do pets on Nelio need?

  • Medium


    It’s recommended to check kidney enzymes in pets on Nelio.

The amount of monitoring a pet on Nelio needs will depend on their condition and how ill they are. It’s likely they’ll need a vet check every couple of months, but this can vary hugely. Regular blood tests will also be recommended, but these aren’t above and beyond what would usually be needed for their condition.

How much does Nelio cost?

  • pound

    ££ – Moderately expensive

    Nelio costs £12-90 per month

Depending on the size of your pet and the dose they’re on, the cost of Nelio varies. A small cat on a standard dose could cost as little as £12 per month, while a large dog on a big dose could cost £90 per month. You’ll also need to factor in written prescription costs and dispensing costs if ordering from an online pharmacy.

Nelio FAQs

How does Nelio work?

Nelio tablets block an enzyme called ACE (Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme) from working, which in turn causes blood vessels to widen. This reduces blood pressure. In cats with kidney failure, high blood pressure in the kidneys can ‘force out’ protein, which worsens symptoms and causes the disease to progress faster. By reducing the blood pressure, Nelio reduces protein loss into the urine (proteinuria) and slows the progression of kidney disease in cats.

By lowering blood pressure, Nelio also prevents fluid from being ‘forced out’ of the blood vessels into the lungs in dogs with heart failure.

For more information on how Nelio helps cats with CKD, our Chronic Kidney Disease in Cats course can help. Alternatively, we also have a Mitral Valve Disease in Dogs course.

Is Nelio the same as benazepril?

Nelio is a brand name of the active ingredient benazepril hydrochloride. Other brand names of benazepril in the UK include Arixil, Banacep, Benazecare, Benefortin, Prilben, BenazeVet, MiPet Benazepet and Fortekor. These all contain benazepril, although in differing quantities. For more information, see the section about Nelio Alternatives below.

Is benazepril the same as amlodipine?

Benazepril (Nelio, Fortekor, Benazecare etc) and amlodipine (Amodip) are different drugs. They act in different places in the body. However, they are both used to lower blood pressure. Your vet may choose one over the other depending on your pet’s specific condition.

What are the ingredients in Nelio?

Nelio tablets contain benazepril hydrochloride as the active ingredient. They also have the following other ingredients:

  • Pig liver flavour
  • Yeast
  • Lactose monohydrate
  • Croscarmellose sodium
  • Anhydrous colloidal silica
  • Hydrogenated castor oil
  • Microcrystalline cellulose

Nelio Alternatives

If your pet has been prescribed Nelio tablets but can’t take them, you might need some alternatives. Other brands containing benazepril in a flavoured tablet include:

Benazepril can also come as non-flavoured, film-coated tablets, which may be smaller and easier to hide or put in a pill-giver. These include Arixil, Banacep, Fortekor, MiPet BenazePet, BenazeVet, and Prilben.

Non-tablet versions of benazepril

There are no licensed liquid formulations of benazepril for cats or dogs but your vet may be able to get a specially-formulated (aka compounded) syrup version if this would help your cat take benazepril.

Alternative Medicines

If Nelio and the alternative benazepril medications aren’t helping your cat, your vet might recommend switching to another medication for CKD in cats, such as Semintra.

For dogs on lots of medicines for heart failure, a combined medication like Fortekor Plus (benazepril and pimobendan combined) or Cardalis (benazepril and spirololactone) may be helpful.

Nelio Datasheet

All drugs have a manufacturer’s datasheet, which gives information about the drug’s use and possible side effects. There is usually one in your Nelio box, but if you have lost it you can click on the button below to be taken on an online version.

Need more information?

If your dog or cat is on Nelio, you might be interested in learning more about their condition with our interactive, vet-written courses. Each one of our courses has been carefully written by qualified vets and e-learning specialists, and you have access to it – including all updates – for the rest of your pets’ life. The following courses might help you:

Please note that the information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only. Although it has been written by a vet, we cannot consider the individual nature of your pet’s problems so it does not constitute veterinary advice. If you have questions about your pet’s medication or their health you should contact a vet, who will be able to help.