Ectopic ureters (EU) (also called ‘wet puppy syndrome’) is a congenital issue in which the lower end of one or both ureters (tubes that drain urine from the kidney to the bladder) is connected in the wrong place. It is called congenital because affected puppies are born with the condition, but this does not automatically mean that it is inherited. There is a suspicion that it may be inherited in golden retrievers.
While a possible mode of inheritance is yet unknown, it is probably prudent to avoid repeating a breeding that has produced a puppy with EU.
Studies on EU in a less well-known breed the Entlebucher Mountain dog, have identified 3 ureteric subtypes (A, B & C) in clinically normal individuals, with ‘A’ being normal, ‘C’ being ectopic and ‘B’ intermediate. Pre-mating screening in this breed has achieved a reduction of the incidence of wet puppies from 26% to 10% over 3-4 years. The University of Cambridge is currently doing a similar study in the Golden Retriever to see if three subtypes are also present in this breed and to see if there are clinically normal dogs present within the breed with type C ureters (ectopic). This is more likely to be the case in male dogs due to their much longer urethra and consequently much higher urethral resistance. Hopefully this study will shed some light on how the condition is being transmitted in Golden Retrievers and provide a strategy for breeders to reduce its incidence.
For further information on the study Click Here
Preliminary Results from the project can be found here