Jump to section

What is Ectopic Ureter Repair?

The ureters naturally drain liquid waste from the kidneys to the bladder. Some dogs are born with a genetic deformity that leaves their ureters draining to an improper place. It affects young, female dogs most commonly. Large breeds are more susceptible to this issue than small breeds. It is often noticed from birth or from when the dog is weaned and manifests as a constant drip of urine. Some dogs only experience incontinence when in certain positions.

Many owners seek treatment for this issue as the dog generally begins to smell of urine and is unable to stop urinating in the home. To repair this problem, surgery is often the only option. There are various invasive or non-invasive procedures that address ectopic ureters. As this is a rare condition, using an ACVS board-certified veterinary surgeon that specializes in urinary tract surgery is advised.

Ectopic Ureter Repair Procedure in Dogs

Ultrasounds, x-rays or, more often, CT scans are used to confirm the presence of ectopic ureters. This will help differentiate the issue from incontinence caused by USMI (a disorder or the urethra). All treatments of this deformity involve the use of general anesthesia. Full blood work will need to be run prior to the surgery to ensure that the dog is healthy enough to receive anesthesia. Urinalysis is also done to assess if there is blood passing into the urine. 

The dog will need to fast for several hours preceding the operation. A drug will be administered to sedate the animal, and an IV will be inserted. General anesthesia will then be applied to render the dog unconscious. If a laser ablation with cystoscopy is being performed, the ureters will be detached from the incorrect location and reattached to the bladder using a laser. This eliminates the need for an incision. If traditional surgery is being used, an incision will be made down the middle of the abdomen. The ureters will be sectioned from the urethra and sutured onto an incision to the bladder. Standard closure using sutures will end the procedure.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Efficacy of Ectopic Ureter Repair in Dogs

If the operation is performed correctly, an ectopic ureter repair can permanently correct incontinence in affected dogs. The ureters, once moved to their correct position, may operate properly for the remainder of the dog's life. During recovery, it is not uncommon for the dog to spot urine, however this can often be addressed using medication for a short period of time. The dog should be checked for USMI whenever ectopic ureters are present, as this disorder often occurs simultaneously and can also cause incontinence.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Ectopic Ureter Repair Recovery in Dogs

The dog should be monitored as it wakes from general anesthesia. The first urination will be watched to see if any straining or difficulty is present. Sometimes swelling may prevent normal urination, in which case a catheter will be placed until swelling goes down. A prescription for antibiotics may be given for the weeks that follow the surgery. To prevent the dog from licking at its incision, an Elizabethan collar can be used during the healing process. If any signs of infection develop, such as redness, swelling or pus, take the dog back to the surgeon immediately.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Cost of Ectopic Ureter Repair in Dogs

The cost of an ectopic ureter repair can vary greatly depending on who performs the operation and what procedure is chosen. For example, cystoscopy requires specialized equipment and training but may prevent the need for further surgeries or complications that lead to higher overall cost. CT scans tend to cost more than other forms of diagnostic imaging. Therapy medications are often prescribed after this procedure. The total cost of the repair may cost anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 with average treatments costing $5,000.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Dog Ectopic Ureter Repair Considerations

Whenever general anesthesia is used, certain serious risks exist. With surgeries involving the urinary tract, urinary tract infections may develop. Complications arise in approximately 14% of dogs who receive this treatment. If the dog suffered from dilated ureters, this problem may worsen after surgery. Dysuria can be present in some instances. A small number of dogs experience kidney failure following an ectopic ureter repair. Success rates for this surgery range from 58%-75%. Surgery using laser ablation is associated with far less complications than traditional, incision-based surgery. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

Ectopic Ureter Repair Prevention in Dogs

As ectopic ureters are a hereditary condition, the only way to prevent their occurrence is to not breed dogs who suffer from this ailment. Inquire about the family health history when purchasing a puppy. Females suffer from this issue far more than males. All larger breeds can be affected by ectopic ureters, however Newfoundlands, Labrador and Golden Retrievers, Poodles and Siberian Huskies are especially susceptible.

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Ectopic Ureter Repair Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

Ruby

dog-breed-icon

Fox Terrier

dog-age-icon

8 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Frequent Urination

Ruby had ectopic urter surgery a week ago, this morning I noticed she has been urinating frequently (normal coloring, larger amounts, & she has not been drinking very much). It was something to look out for on the discharge paperwork...

Aug. 16, 2018

Ruby's Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

If that sign was listed as one to watch out for on the discharge paperwork, it would be a good idea to have a recheck for Ruby so that your veterinarian can assess her and see what her urine looks like. If the frequent urination just started, that may not be normal post-operative activity.

Aug. 16, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Ruby

dog-breed-icon

Fox Terrier

dog-age-icon

8 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Frequent Urination

Ruby had ectopic urter surgery about a week ago, I noticed this morning she has been urinating frequently, substantial amounts normal coloring, and she has not been drinking too frequently. Is this a normal symptom? It was listed as something to look out for on the discharge paperwork.

Aug. 16, 2018

Ruby's Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

If that sign was listed as one to watch out for on the discharge paperwork, it would be a good idea to have a recheck for Ruby so that your veterinarian can assess her and see what her urine looks like. If the frequent urination just started, that may not be normal post-operative activity.

Aug. 16, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Ruby

dog-breed-icon

Fox Terrier

dog-age-icon

8 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Blood In Urine

My dog just had ectopic urter surgery, is it normal for her to have small amounts of blood in her urine? It has only been about a day. I’ve contacted the veterinarian, but haven’t heard back yet....

Aug. 9, 2018

Ruby's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Some bleeding is to be expected after this type of surgery; but it there is a large quantity of blood, severe pain whilst urinating or anything else concerning you should return to your Veterinarian. Keep an eye on Ruby’s waterworks and keep in contact with your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.acvs.org/small-animal/ectopic-ureter

Aug. 9, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Brandi

dog-breed-icon

Golden Retriever

dog-age-icon

7 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

None

I have a 7 month old Golden. 6 weeks ago she had laser ablation of intramual ectopic ureter. For first 12 days she did not leak at all. But since then, she leaks more and more. She frequenly leaks while asleep. She just finished antibiotics for UTI. I know that a weak shinter is possible. But is it possible that the distal end of the ablated ureter could have opened up again?

July 16, 2018

Brandi's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

If Brandi has started leaking urine again you should return to your Veterinarian for another examination and pyelogram to determine whether there was a failure of the surgery or if the new dribbling is due to another cause. Some dogs do require further surgery to prevent recurrence of incontinence. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM https://avim.us/ectopic-ureters-dogs/

July 16, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Maya

dog-breed-icon

Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

One Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Occasional Incontinence

My one year old lab has had occasional incontinence since she was 4 months old. Kidney problems, diabetes, and bladder infections have been ruled out as the cause for this by my vet, and her incontinence started before she was spayed. My vet has suggested that she may have ectopic ureters and our next steps will be to test her for this. If ectopic ureters are the cause, is it harmful to her to let her live with the problem rather than have surgery? I'm concerned about the risk for complications, and that surgery does not guarantee success. I would do anything for this dog, but I can't imagine losing her and I don't want to put her at any risk if it's not necessary. Her incontinence is very occasional and pretty mild. It doesn't seem to bother her whatsoever, and I would rather deal with the extra clean up from time to time than risk a complication with her.

May 27, 2018

Maya's Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

If the problem is mild, and occasional, and other health causes have been ruled out, there isn't anything wrong with monitoring her, cleaning her up when necessary, and keeping an eye on things. You would just want to have her checked frequently for bladder infections, as those can occur more frequently with ectopic ureters. I hope that all goes well for her.

May 27, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Loki

dog-breed-icon

German Shepherd

dog-age-icon

10 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Frequent Urination
Peeing In Sleep
Small Urinatio

We have a 10 week old German Shepherd mix puppy. She started peeing in her sleep, and peeing small amounts very often. We took her to the vet and within 5 minutes they assumed she has Ectopic Uterer, without any real evidence. They did not test her urine for a UTI.. I am wonder what are some of the symptoms between the two

dog-name-icon

Bear

dog-breed-icon

Mixed

dog-age-icon

15 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Blood In Urine

I am adopting a 15 week old puppy that is a cross Retriever/Spaniel mix. He has been diagnosed with Ectopic Ureter issue that will need surgery. Will we be able to get this procedure done soon or will we have to wait until he is older? The rescue group is paying for the surgery but I am wanting to find out how long he will have to suffer with this before having surgery. I read that this is congenital and more frequently in females but also that the surgical outcomes are also better for the males with this issue. Advice?

dog-name-icon

Keva

dog-breed-icon

Beagle

dog-age-icon

5 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Dripping Urine

I have a five month old beagle. She has been dripping urine since she was 2.5 months old. We have taken her to many vets and finally a vet diagnosed her with intramural ectopic ureters. On investigation she came up with bilateral ectopic ureters. Unfortunately in India laser ablation is not an option. Open surgeries seem invasive. What is the earliest age at which surgery can be performed? How successful is the surgery?

dog-name-icon

Noah

dog-breed-icon

Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Incontinence
Incontinence Ectopic Eureter

My Male lab started experiencing uncontrolled bladder issues (leaking) after he was neutered in June of last year after his 1st birthday. We have gone through many tests all ruling out bladder and incontinence issues rounds of different types of medication. It only happens when he is at rest mostly when he is sleeping. The vet is recommending Ectopic Ureter surgery although we have not done a workup on it yet. We live in NJ and we were recommended a hospital in New York City. Is it normal for a Male Lab who never "leaked" before to leak after being neutered. Could he have been injured during the neutering process. He is a very active and happy dog. He just "Leaks" everywhere he lies down and relaxes.

dog-name-icon

Abby

dog-breed-icon

Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

10 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Frequent Urination

I have a 10 week old lab/golden retriever mix female puppy who has constant dribbling, peeing when asleep, frequent urination. She has been to vet who suggested to try antibiotics first, but said that it would more than likely be ectopic ureter. How old does a pup need to be for surgery to be performed? is it more effective in young puppies?

How can we help your pet?