What are Persistent Urachus?
Patent urachus is one of the most common bladder malformations in puppies. It is a congenital defect, meaning they are born with it, due to the urachus not closing properly at birth. If your dog has urinary issues or abnormalities at birth, he may have this condition. If your puppy is diagnosed with patent urachus, he will need surgical correction. After corrected, he will recover well and a prognosis of a full recovery is good. If you do not get it corrected, he is likely to have lifelong urinary issues and/or infections.
Many puppies are born with an urachus abnormality known as persistent urachus. While it is not an immediate medical emergency, it does need to be corrected as soon as possible. Make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as you can.
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Symptoms of Persistent Urachus in Dogs
If your puppy has persistent urachus, he may have one or more of the following symptoms
- Unable to control urination
- Urine scalding the skin near the naval
- Urinary tract infection
- Dribbling urine from the umbilicus
There are different places the urachus can remain open at birth. The two different places can cause the condition to be known as either patent urachus or an umbilical urachal sinus. Either way, the condition is where the urachus remains open instead of closing at birth and therefore causes complications for the dog.
Causes of Persistent Urachus in Dogs
Persistent urachus is a congenital condition, meaning your dog was born with it. When the puppy is still in utero the urachus is the tube that connects the bladder to the umbilical cord. This tube removes waste from the fetus properly. After birth, the tube is supposed to close and become a solid cord, however, this doesn’t always happen like it is supposed to and causes the condition known as persistent urachus.
Diagnosis of Persistent Urachus in Dogs
When it comes to diagnosing your dog, the veterinarian will want to run multiple diagnostic tests. First, she will want to start by performing a physical exam. This will allow her to take a complete overall look at your dog and the symptoms he is experiencing. Dribbling of urine from the umbilicus is a characteristic symptom of this condition.
Next, she will want to run a urinalysis. She will collect a urine sample from your dog to perform some diagnostic tests. The test will indicate if your dog has any abnormalities within the urine. If the pH is too high or too low, the test will indicate it. If there are crystals in the urine, the test will indicate it; if there are certain minerals or levels within the urine that are elevated, the test will indicate it.
The veterinarian may also want to take a radiograph to take a view of the structures within the body. She may inject a special radio opaque dye intravenously in order to see the structures more defined. If this does not give her satisfactory images, she may want to perform an ultrasound as well.
Treatment of Persistent Urachus in Dogs
Treatment for persistent urachus involves surgery. Surgical correction will close the cord as it should have done at birth. This should correct any side effects from the cord being open and your dog will be able to have normal urinary function.
Antibiotics may also be recommended to treat any type of secondary infection or urinary tract infection. Other medications may have to be administered as the veterinarian sees fit to treat his condition.
If you do not correct the cause of the problem, then you will only be treating the symptoms. These will only be temporary fixes, not a cure. While surgery may seem expensive, it will be the best option in the long term. If not surgically corrected, you will have to deal with repeated visits to the veterinarian and possible secondary complications.
Recovery of Persistent Urachus in Dogs
If surgically corrected, your dog should recover with a good prognosis of a full recovery. If this condition is not corrected, your dog is likely to suffer chronic urinary tract infections as well as other secondary infections. Other complications can arise over time and will cause your dog to possibly have long term problems throughout his lifetime.
If you notice your puppy is having developmental problems or you notice he is urinating abnormally, take him to a veterinarian. The sooner you have him checked out, the earlier the condition will be caught and corrected, saving him a lifetime of complications.