An ectopic (displaced) ureter is a congenital abnormality in which one or both ureters open into the urethra or vagina. Bilateral ectopia affects both ureters, and unilateral ectopia affects one ureter. In cats affected with ectopic ureter, the ureter completely bypasses the bladder and enters the urethra from outside of the bladder walls (extramural type).
This condition is rare, and when it does occur it may be asymptomatic, with no apparent urination problems. When symptoms are apparent, they often present as occasional or continuous incontinence, and inflammation of the vagina (vaginitis) from urine scalding the vaginal tissue.
Ectopic ureter has an unknown mode of inheritance, but there does appear to be a component of breed predisposition.
Your veterinarian will use a diagnostic technique called urethrocystoscopy, which uses an insertable tube with an attached camera. In this way, your doctor will be able to examine the bladder internally, and visualization of the urethral opening into the urethra or vagina will be more apparent. Your veterinarian will also be looking to identify holes (perforations) in the structure of the urethra (urethral fenestrations), depressions, striping (or streaking), and tenting in the bladder. When this diagnostic method is performed skillfully, a more accurate diagnosis can be made than with external imaging techniques, such as radiography. Another technique, urethral pressure profilometry, measures surface variations to detect coexistent urethral muscle (sphincter) incompetence. There remains the possibility that a displaced ureter will confound the results of this test, however.
The tubular shaft found between the kidneys and the bladder
A tube found between the bladder and the outside of the body; used to assist in urination.
A medical condition in which the vagina becomes inflamed.
A condition of having only one side
A ring-shaped muscle that is used to close and open an opening
Transmitting genes from parent to child
A procedure of imaging internal body structures by exposing film
Term used to refer to a condition of having a disease or affliction but not displaying symptoms of it.