Have you noticed your dog leaking some urine under them? Are they prone to urinary infections more than usual? Is this something that they have had since they were puppies? All of these signs may point to a condition known as an ectopic ureter.
So, what is ectopic ureter in dogs?
The purpose of the ureter in dogs is to help drain the urine from the kidneys to the bladder. But, in some dogs, due to different reasons they are born with improperly developed ureters. This is a condition that is more commonly seen in female dogs and usually, puppies show the first signs when they are weaned from their mum.
In some breeds, this condition is considered to be a genetic trait such as Labradors, Poodles, Siberian Huskies, and Golden Retrievers.
This condition is usually a result of abnormal development, where the embryonic ducts that are supposed to develop into ureters, fail to develop in their normal direction.
What are the clinical signs of ectopic ureter in dogs?
Normally, owners notice urine dripping from behind the puppy, which suggests urine incontinence. The puppy may constantly feel wet on touch, especially on their abdomen or the urogenital area. This can also be a result of constant licking there which may be misleading for the vet.
Puppies with ectopic ureters usually suffer from different urine infections as well and in some cases, they may show signs of distress and pain. A dog that has a urine infection will have trouble peeing normally and they often ask to be let out to potty more frequently.
What diagnostics do vets do to identify ectopic ureter in dogs?
The first test that the vet will perform is a full physical examination. After that, they will ask the owner to take some urine samples that can be tested. This helps the vet determine properties such as pH, urine concentration, presence of proteins, and the leaves of different substances present in the urine. Then a sample of the urine is tested under the microscope where the vet will try to see if there are different cells present like red blood cells, white blood cells, or crystals.
Further diagnostics such as ultrasound and x-ray can be needed. In some cases, the vet may want to use a special type of coloring so that they better visualize the changes that have occurred and locate the ectopic ureter.
In female puppies, the dog may perform something called cystoscopy. This is a method that involves the dog being under anesthesia and inserting a small camera into the urethra and bladder.
How is ectopic ureter treated?
The best possible way for this is with surgery. Sometimes vets may consider using non-invasive methods and trying out with tablets, but oftentimes this may not work and the dog may require a surgical approach after all.
The average cost is around $5000. But sometimes the prices can go up to $10000 and go as low as $2000.