Dear Dr. John,
Our daughter lives in Colorado and recently found a Golden Retriever puppy to bring home. We picked up the puppy and her history noted two vaccines and a history of coccidia. Upon having our vet see the dog, we learned that the vaccines were given when she was too young. Also, a fecal showed that she had been exposed to other parasites as well. Most significantly, she has been a urinary machine ever since we got her and had been leaking urine. A urine dipstick confirmed a urinary tract infection, so she was started on antibiotics. An emergency facility gave us an anti-inflammatory for her leaking which has since resolved but also had us schedule an appointment with a specialist to rule out something called an ectopic ureter. She is still urinating so very frequently. How common is this condition and is it treatable? C.K.
Ectopic ureters in dogs are not very common. I have only seen two cases in my practice career. The incidence of this condition in dogs is less than one half of one percent. The Golden Retriever is one of the more commonly affected breeds. Given the breed and sex of your dog I think you are headed in the right direction and a specialist will likely do a cystoscopy to confirm the possible diagnosis.
The ureters connect the kidneys to the bladder and if ectopic they drain into a wrong location. This leads to the signs you have observed such as frequent urination and leaking that do not respond to other treatment modalities. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, this congenital defect requires surgical correction. Outcomes are usually good and successful.
As for the vaccines being given too early, sadly some breeders vaccinate early thinking they are benefitting the puppy, but the puppy’s immune system needs to be mature enough to develop antibodies to the antigenic stimulus of a vaccine and that doesn’t typically happen until six weeks of age. If the puppy had parasites like coccidia and a fecal showed antigens for other parasites as well, that is concerning as to the breeder’s quality but those can all be treated for. Good luck with the puppy!
Dr. John de Jong owns and operates the Boston Mobile Veterinary Clinic. He can be reached at 781-899-9994.
Originally published at www.bostonherald.com