Ectopic Ureter: A Rare Canine Congenital Disability How To Detect And Treat Ectopic Ureter Timely?

Ectopic Ureter: A Rare Canine Congenital Disability

Ectopic ureter is one of the most common anomalies of dog urinary tract. It occurs more frequently in female dogs than male dogs and can be hereditary or an anomaly from birth. It will need to be treated immediately because it could lead to complications later in life if left untreated.

Ectopic ureter is a congenital disorder in dogs, most commonly affecting female dogs. The ectopic ureter is abnormally inserted into the bladder wall or in the blood vessel of the bladder and does not reach its normal location, the urinary tract/bladder. It can be located anywhere from the kidney to the bladder. This can cause urinary incontinence, regular urinary tract infections, straining to urinate, and excessive thirst and appetite, among other symptoms. 

One Of The Most Common Congenital Disabilities

The condition can be difficult to diagnose because dogs with this health issue may have no symptoms or only mild signs. It's not always easy to diagnose an ectopic ureter in male dogs because they do not have the same outward symptoms as female animals with this disability. In fact, it's more common for male puppies to show no signs at all than females.

In a study on an eight-year-old mixed-breed male dog, it was found that it may take a complete diagnostic work-up, followed by surgery and histopathology, to diagnose the condition correctly.

Common Symptoms.

If a dog is affected by the ectopic ureter, he or she will frequently urinate (cystitis) and have difficulty urinating, more commonly called urinary obstruction. Other disease symptoms include excessive thirst and appetite, weight loss, and straining to urinate, including passing little urine or blood in the urine.

Affected dogs may have one or more of these symptoms. However, it is not always easy to determine which dog has this particular genetic defect without carrying out tests such as X-rays and ultrasounds.

Bladder or kidney infection with a fever is another symptom associated with urinary tract infections (UTIs). 

Symptoms Are Usually Visible At Birth.

Symptoms are usually visible at birth and include urinary incontinence, regular urinary tract infections, straining to urinate, excessive thirst and appetite, and weight loss. This congenital disease can lead to serious complications, such as kidney failure or death if left untreated. But the same can be treated successfully with surgery. 

Mostly Diagnosed During Pregnancy.

In most cases, this disorder is diagnosed during a bitch’s pregnancy when the veterinarian sees a dilated and poorly functioning kidney on ultrasound. The ureter is also dilated and poorly functioning, but not as severely as the kidney. The bladder is not dilated or malformed but instead appears to be normal. In terms of function, urine flows normally through the ureter into the bladder, where it is stored. Then the pets can either urinate naturally or with the help of the owner. 

Can Be Difficult To Diagnose

This is because the ureter is shorter and more vertical in males. The urethra is shorter, and there is less distance for bacteria to travel in male dogs, so they tend not to develop urinary tract infections as often as bitches do. Furthermore, the male urethra is also narrower than female dogs' urethras, making it even harder for bacteria to find their way into this part of the body in the first place! 

It Is Essential To Diagnose Early

It is essential to diagnose early because it is a progressive disease that can lead to severe problems like stones in the bladder. It can also potentially cause kidney failure if left untreated. Generally, the veterinarian will prescribe some pet meds like Azodyl for dogs or Benazepril or Denamarin to help treat any kidney infection before it gets too serious.

The diagnosis of ectopic ureter in dogs is based on clinical signs and radiographic examination. Your veterinarian will conduct a complete physical exam, including a detailed history and thorough blood testing. They will then order X-rays on your pet's abdomen. These images will allow your doctor to locate the abnormal anatomy of your dog's urinary tract and determine whether there is any other abnormality present that may be causing the symptoms. 

Surgical Treatments

There are generally two surgical treatments:


The surgery is performed under general anesthesia, like Acepromazine, and connects the ectopic ureter to the bladder so that urine normally flows thanks to gravity. The surgery lasts around 2 to 3 hours and is performed under general anesthesia. The ureter is connected to the bladder through a small incision in the abdomen.


The second surgery is called nephroureterectomy (also called "nephrectomy"), which consists of removing the whole kidney with its tube. This solution is considered when implantation does not work properly.

The first and second surgeries are performed under general anesthesia and are usually done in two stages:

? removal of the lower part of the ureter (the part that connects to your dog's bladder) and

? removal of both testicles for male dogs or ovaries for female dogs.

As per a study conducted by American Veterinary Association, it was concluded that cystoscopic-guided scissor transection of ectopic ureters (CST-EU) showed positive results in seven out of the eight female dogs involved.

And in another study conducted on 25 female dogs to calculate outcomes of ectopic ureter (EU) by open surgery or cystoscopic-guided laser ablation (CLA), one-month postoperative continence was noticed in 80% of dogs

What Can You Do?

Following are a few things that you can do to help your pet:

·   Start with a grain-free diet for your pet, like Taste of the wild.

·   You can also use raw or dehydrated, or freeze-dried food for your dog. Science Diet has good options to choose from.

·   Naturally wet food, whether home-cooked or canned dog food, would also be a good option.

·   Also, make it a point to keep him hydrated and have the dog bowls of water full.

·   If there are incidents of a leak or urinating without any control, you can resort to diapers for dogs.

·   In case your pet is still a puppy, you can use pill pockets for dogs to feed him his pills. 


Dogs with ectopic ureters have a relatively good prognosis if the disease is caught early enough and if the surgery has been carried out successfully. If your dog shows signs of discomfort or pain when urinating, take them to the veterinarian immediately. An ultrasound will be performed, which can confirm whether or not there is an ectopic ureter and offer insight into how severe it might be.

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