Coco says goodbye to incontinence thanks to the first ectopic ureter laser ablation performed at U-Vet

Toy poodle Coco on leash

Coco, a 15-month-old toy poodle, presented at U-Vet with ongoing urinary leakage (incontinence) since her adoption three months prior.  Although there can be several causes for incontinence, we were suspicious that Coco had a congenital problem because of her young age. An examination confirmed that one of her ureters (normally bringing the urine from the kidney to the bladder) was instead opening in her urethra.  This is called ectopic ureter.

Ectopic ureter (*) opening in the urethra (yellow arrow) causing clinical signs of urine leakage
Image: Ectopic ureter (*) opening in the urethra (yellow arrow) causing clinical signs of urine leakage

Typically, a surgery is required to re-implant the abnormal ureter in the bladder. However, a minimally invasive technique has been described using a laser to re-open the ureter in its normal location in the bladder.

Surgical view of catheter and laser
Image: Catheter (yellow) is placed in the ectopic ureter and the laser (red dot) is used to open the ureter in the normal location in the bladder

Dr Julien Dandrieux from our Medicine and Oncology Service and Dr Stewart Ryan from the Surgery Service, with the assistance of a ‘human doctor’ (a doctor who works with humans instead of animals!) experienced in ectopic ureter laser ablation performed this surgery on Coco earlier this year.  This marked the first time that this procedure was performed at U-Vet. The outcome for dogs undergoing this treatment is promising, with small studies  suggesting that approximately 50% of female dogs that have this procedure will become fully continent, with the other 50% requiring additional treatment.

In this case, Coco has responded extremely well and has become fully continent, ditching the nappy for the first time since she was adopted! We are very pleased with Coco’s progress and response.

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