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Ectopic Ureters in Dogs

By: Dr. David Diamond

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Ectopic ureter is an abnormality present at birth in which one or both of the ducts that bring urine from the kidneys to the bladder fail to open into the bladder in the normal way. The affected animal is born with this problem and the resulting urinary incontinence usually begins at birth. Siberian huskies, golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers and miniature poodles may be more predisposed than other breeds. This problem is diagnosed in females 20 times more often than in males.

Urinary incontinence in a young animal is often misinterpreted as difficulty in housebreaking the pet. Ectopic ureters can predispose the animal to urinary tract and kidney infections. Urinary incontinence can persist even after surgical correction and often leads owners to elect euthanasia for the pet.


  • Complete physical examination
  • Complete blood count and
  • Chemistry profile
  • Urine analysis and culture
  • Abdominal radiographs
  • Contrast radiographs
  • Cystoscopy
  • Abdominal ultrasound examination
  • Urethral pressure measurements


  • Antibiotic therapy for concurrent urinary tract infections
  • Medications to increase the urethral muscle tone and minimize dribbling
  • Surgical correction of the abnormal ureter(s)

    Home Care and Prevention

    After surgery and discharge from the hospital, your dog will be restricted from excessive activity. She may be given anti-inflammatory medications or analgesics (pain killers) for the first few days to keep her comfortable. Some dogs may be sent home with oral antibiotics for several days if a urinary tract infection is also present or suspected.

    Your dog may be given medications to increase the urethral muscle tone in order to minimize dribbling after surgery or if no surgery was done.

    Watch for potential complications after surgery, including:

  • Persistent urinary incontinence
  • Incision problems such as swelling or discharge
  • Blood-tinged urine
  • Straining or inability to urinate
  • Distension of the abdomen

    This abnormality is present at birth and cannot be prevented. Although the cause of the developmental abnormality is not completely known, it is advisable not to breed the affected dog.

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