Causes of Ectopic Ureters
Certain breeds seem to have a predisposition to being born with ectopic ureters. This is called a congenital defect. Because of the prevalence of the abnormality in those breeds, the defect also appears to have a genetic component, rather than just occurring randomly during prenatal development. Unfortunately, the mode of inheritance is not well-understood. The involvement of heredity also is not consistent. Bitches with ectopic ureters are known to have whelped litters in which none of their offspring is born with the condition – or at least none of them exhibit the intermittent or persistent incontinence so commonly associated with this conformational abnormality. Vitamin imbalances or deficiencies in female dogs during pregnancy have also been suggested as possible contributors to ecopic ureters in their puppies.
Prevention of Ectopic Ureters
There is no reliable way to prevent ectopic ureters in domestic dogs. Some experts suggest that affected animals should not be bred, and that parents of affected offspring also should not be used in a responsible breeding program. However, until the hereditary component and/or other causes of ectopic ureters are better understood, it will be difficult for breeders to eliminate this problem from the gene pool of predisposed breeds.
Owners may be advised by their veterinarian or by their pet’s breeder to spay or neuter affected animals.