Ectopic Uterer in Dogs

Ectopic ureter in dogs is a congenital abnormality which develops while in utero. Although the condition is not particularly life threatening, ectopic ureters can lead to an array of health concerns. Because there are treatment options available, it is important for dog owners to be aware of the signs of ectopic ureter in dogs so that the proper treatment or correction can be sought.

Overview of Ectopic Ureter

The kidneys have the unique function of metabolizing, processing, and converting residual waste into urine. In dogs, each kidney has a ureter which carries urine to the bladder where it can be excreted through urination. When a dog has an ectopic ureter, this excretory process is interrupted in that the ureter carries urine directly to the urethra, vagina or uterus, completely bypassing the bladder. The direct result of this is continuous dribbling and urinary incontinence as the urethra is designed to pass urine, not hold it. Because an ectopic ureter redirects the flow or urine, dogs with this congenital condition are often more prone to developing urinary tract infections and kidney infections. However, the most obvious result is typically life-long urinary incontinence.

Predisposition in Dogs

Ectopic ureter in dogs can affect any breed of dog, but it appears to be substantially more common in Siberian huskies, Labrador retrievers, Golden retrievers, and Miniature poodles. In addition, ectopic ureter in female dogs is diagnosed almost 20 times more than in male dogs.

Symptoms of Ectopic Ureter

It is exceedingly important that dog owners consider the possibility of an ectopic ureter, especially if housebreaking becomes difficult. While it may initially seem that the dog has a compliance issue, it is important to remember that there could be an underlying medical issue causing problems with the housebreaking experience.

Any of the following symptoms could be indicative of ectopic ureter in dogs:

  • Continuous leakage of urine
  • Blood in the urine (indication of bladder infection)
  • Excessive frequency of urination
  • Inability to signal the need to urinate

Diagnosis and Treatment of Ectopic Uterer

The first step to diagnosing an ectopic ureter in dogs is to obtain a complete blood and chemistry profile to ensure that there is no dysfunction of the kidneys themselves. The next step would be to collect a urine sample and send it for culture. This will determine if there is any bacteria present in the urine that could be causing a frequent need to urinate. The most conclusive diagnostic test, however, is an abdominal ultrasound, which will radiographically provide evidence of the ectopic ureter.

The only way to effectively treat the ectopic ureter is to have it surgically corrected. During surgery, the dog’s ureter is dissected out of the urethra and sutured in place to the bladder. However, only 75% of surgeries for ectopic ureters are able to effectively create urinary continence. Oftentimes medications are dually given to increase the muscle strength of the ureter and reduce the likelihood of incontinence.