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  • Writer's pictureVetMed Team

Ectopic Ureters in Cats: Everything You Need To Know

Ectopic ureters, though relatively rare, are a significant concern for feline health. This congenital abnormality affects the urinary system of cats, causing various urinary complications and discomfort. In this comprehensive article, we delve into the world of ectopic ureters in cats, shedding light on what they are, the potential causes behind them, and the wide range of symptoms they can manifest.

We will also explore preventive measures, available treatment options such as laser ablation, and the importance of early detection in achieving successful outcomes. Whether you are a concerned cat owner or a veterinarian seeking in-depth knowledge, this article aims to equip you with valuable insights into understanding, diagnosing, and managing ectopic ureters in cats.

cat with ectopic ureter

Looking for a specific answer? Use our guide below to quickly navigate to your desired section:

What causes ectopic ureters?

What are the symptoms of ectopic ureters in cats?

What treatment options are there for ectopic ureters in cats?

Aftercare for cats after laser ablation procedure

What Are Ectopic Ureters in Cats?

Ectopic ureters are a congenital abnormality that can occur in cats, leading to urinary issues and discomfort. This condition involves the improper connection of the ureters, the tubes responsible for carrying urine from the kidneys to the bladder. Instead of connecting to the bladder in the usual location, ectopic ureters may drain urine into other parts of the urinary system or even outside the body.

What Causes Ectopic Ureters?

The exact cause of ectopic ureters in cats is not fully understood. However, it is believed to be a developmental abnormality that occurs during fetal development. Genetics may play a role, as certain breeds, such as Siamese and Himalayans, have a higher predisposition to this condition. Understanding the underlying causes can help in identifying at-risk cats and implementing preventive measures.

What Are the Symptoms of Ectopic Ureters in Cats?

The symptoms of ectopic ureters in cats can vary, and the severity of the condition can influence the presentation. Here are some common signs that may indicate the presence of ectopic ureters in cats:

  • Urinary incontinence (inability to control urination)

  • Frequent urination

  • Urinating in unusual places outside the litter box

  • Straining or discomfort during urination

  • Blood in the urine (hematuria)

  • Urinary tract infections (recurrent or persistent)

  • Excessive grooming of the genital area

  • Licking the abdomen excessively

  • Foul-smelling urine

  • Weight loss or decreased appetite (in severe cases)

It's important to note that not all cats with ectopic ureters will exhibit all of these symptoms. Some cats may only show subtle signs, while others may experience more severe urinary issues. If you notice any of these symptoms or suspect a urinary problem in your cat, it is crucial to consult a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Can You Prevent Ectopic Ureters?

Ectopic ureters are primarily considered a congenital condition, making prevention challenging. However, responsible breeding practices that avoid mating individuals with a history of ectopic ureters can help reduce the prevalence in certain breeds. Early diagnosis and intervention are key to managing the condition effectively.

How Ectopic Ureters Are Diagnosed in Cats

To diagnose ectopic ureters in cats, veterinarians may use various diagnostic techniques, including:

  • Physical Examination: A thorough examination of the cat’s abdomen and genital region may help identify any abnormalities.

  • Urinalysis: Analyzing a urine sample can provide valuable information about the cat’s urinary health and help detect any signs of urinary tract infection.

  • Diagnostic Imaging: Ultrasound may sometimes identify the presence of ectopic ureters. Ultrasound is also used to evaluate the entire urinary tract for other concurrent birth defects.

  • Cystoscopy: This procedure involves using a small diameter video endoscope to examine the inside of the bladder and identify the location of the ureters. Cystoscopy is considered the "gold standard" for identifying ectopic ureters.

What Treatment Options Are There For Ectopic Ureters in Cats?

We pride ourselves in specializing in minimally invasive techniques to improve success rates and result in quicker recovery periods for your pet. When it comes to ectopic ureters, we use a method called Laser Ablation.

Laser Ablation

Laser ablation has emerged as a non-invasive alternative treatment option for correcting ectopic ureters in cats rather than open surgery. This non-invasive procedure offers several advantages and can be particularly beneficial for certain cases.

Laser ablation involves the use of laser energy to precisely ablate the tissue between the urethra and ectopic ureter which then moves the opening of the ureter back into the bladder. This technique is performed under general anesthesia using a cystoscope, a small diameter tube with a camera that allows us to visualize the urinary tract during the procedure.

One of the significant advantages of laser ablation is its non-invasive nature. Compared to traditional surgical procedures, laser ablation requires smaller incisions or no incisions at all, resulting in reduced tissue trauma, less postoperative pain, and faster recovery times for the cat.

Aftercare for Cats After Ectopic Ureter Laser Ablation Procedure

After a cat undergoes a laser ablation procedure for the treatment of ectopic ureters, proper aftercare is crucial to ensure a smooth recovery and optimal healing. Here are some important considerations for aftercare following a laser ablation procedure:

Postoperative Monitoring

Keep a close eye on your cat’s behavior and overall well-being during the recovery period. Monitor for resolution of your cat’s urinary incontinence.

Pain Management

We may prescribe pain medications to help keep your cat comfortable during the recovery process. Administer the medication as instructed, and closely follow the recommended dosage and frequency. Be mindful of any potential side effects and contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns.

Restricted Activity

It is important to limit your cat’s physical activity and exercise during the recovery period. Avoid activities that may strain or put stress on the urinary tract. Controlled movements are typically recommended initially, gradually increasing activity levels as directed by your veterinarian.

Incision Care (male only)

If there are any tiny incisions required for the laser ablation procedure, follow your veterinarian's instructions for wound care. Keep the area clean and dry. Avoid allowing your cat to lick or scratch at the incision site, as this can introduce bacteria and delay healing. If necessary, an Elizabethan collar (cone) may be recommended to prevent your cat from interfering with the incision.

Dietary Considerations

No special dietary recommendations are necessary after laser ablation of ectopic ureters.

Follow-up Appointments

Repeat ultrasound of the urinary tract is recommended 4-6 weeks after laser ablation of ectopic ureters. The purpose of the ultrasound is to verify urine is flowing into the bladder and that there are no obstructions at the newly created ureteral openings.

Medication Compliance

If your cat has been prescribed any additional medications, such as antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs, administer them as directed. Compliance with medication protocols is essential to prevent infections and manage inflammation.

Remember, every cat’s recovery process may vary, and it is important to follow your veterinarian's specific aftercare instructions. By providing diligent aftercare, you can contribute to a successful recovery and help your cat return to their normal activities as soon as possible.

VetMed Treats Ectopic Ureters in Cats

Timely diagnosis allows for prompt intervention, reducing the risk of complications and improving the cat's quality of life. Regular veterinary check-ups and awareness of the common symptoms can help cat owners identify potential issues and seek veterinary care at the earliest signs.


Questions You've Asked Us About Ectopic Ureters in Cats

Still have questions? Contact us here - we promise we'll answer them.

What are the symptoms of ectopic ureters in cats?

Symptoms of ectopic ureters in cats can include urinary incontinence, frequent urination, blood in the urine, straining or discomfort during urination, and recurrent urinary tract infections.

How do you treat an ectopic ureter in a cat?

How much does ectopic ureter surgery cost?

What causes an ectopic ureter in cats?

What is the prognosis of ectopic ureter in cats?


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