What Is an Ectopic Ureter: Frankie’s Urinary Incontinence and Reconstructive Surgery

If your puppy keeps having pee accidents and nothing is working, it is time to consider a plumbing problem.

Your veterinarian ruled out or treated for urinary tract infection and the problem seems to go far beyond a house training problem—what is going on?

In a healthy dog, urine travels from kidneys to the bladder which allows urine storage until the puppy goes to pee. During normal urination, the pee travels from the bladder onto your lawn. The plumbing that facilitates this system includes

  • ureters, which connect the kidneys to the bladder,
  • and urethra, which connects the bladder to the outside world

In some puppies, this plumbing doesn’t develop properly—the urine travels from kidneys bypassing the bladder to places where it cannot be stored. As a result, your puppy cannot control the flow or urine.

Further information: Ectopic Ureters in Dogs

What Is an Ectopic Ureter: Frankie's Urinary Incontinence and Reconstructive Surgery

Frankie’s story

Her mom, brought Frankie home from a breeder when Frankie was 10 weeks old. Frankie was a lovable, adorable puppy but she had a problem—she was continuously dribbling urine. It was obvious the problem went far beyond potty accidents. Frankie did go potty outside, squatted and peed like a good girl. But on top of that, she was constantly leaking. Her private areas were constantly wet and so was her bed.

Frankie’s mom also noticed that Frankie was thirstier than you’d expect from a healthy puppy. She took Frankie to see a veterinarian.

At the veterinarian

As soon as her mom described Frankie’s problem, the veterinarian suspected an ectopic ureter. It was the only thing that explain the constant leakage. The abnormality can involve one or both ureters. Frankie needed her plumbing surgically rerouted.

Frankie’s mom had the option to return the Frankie to the breeder for a refund. However, she was horrified to learn that they would not treat Frankie. The would take Frankie back to euthanize her. Frankie was such as sweet girl, she didn’t deserve such a fate. Her mom decided to keep her and see what their options were.

Frankie’s reconstructive surgery

Part of the problem is that surgical repair is not only expensive but it doesn’t always work out either. Which is the optimal procedure depends on the exact abnormality. In other words, it is an uncertain and complicated business.

Frankie, however was lucky. Her veterinarian referred her to a specialty hospital that had a fund to discount rare surgeries. Together with a refund from the breeder, even though she kept Frankie, her mom was able to afford the procedure.

Frankie’s surgery went well and the surgeons were able to fix her plumbing successfully.

Source story:
Lulu the 10 year old Border Terrier

Related articles:
Changes in Urination/Urinary Accidents: Why Is My Dog Peeing in the House?
Potty Accidents in Dogs: Incontinence versus UTIs
Urinary Incontinence in Dogs: Living with an Incontinent Dog

Further reading:
Dog is Having Accidents in the House, But Why?
Ectopic Ureters in Dogs

Categories: ConditionsDog health advocacyEctopic ureterReal-life StoriesSymptomsUrinary accidentsUrinary incontinence

Tags: :

Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

Share your thoughts