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Golden Retriever Ectopic Ureter Ultrasound Screening Project

Study Background

Ectopic ureters (also called ‘wet puppy syndrome’) is known to be a hereditary problem in Golden retrievers; however the mechanism for this inheritance is not yet known.

In Entlebucher Mountain dogs, ultrasound screening of healthy dogs has identified 3 ureteric subtypes (A, B & C), 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.

We would like to assess this ultrasound screening technique 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.

This could shed light on how the condition is being transmitted in Golden retrievers and could provide a strategy to reduce its incidence.  

As part of this project we would also like to collect cheek swabs from all dogs with type ‘A’ ureters (normal) for the DNA bank at the Animal Health Trust. This will allow us to have a true control group to compare against the DNA samples already collected from affected dogs.   

How you can help

We are looking for healthy, urinary continent, male and female Golden retrievers to take part in an ultrasound screening project to look at the position of the ureters as they enter the bladder. We would also like to take cheek swabs from dogs confirmed to have normal ureters for DNA testing. The screening will take place at the Queen’s Veterinary School Hospital in Cambridge.  

For more information on what is required, please download our study information leaflet

To find out when our next screening dates are please contact us:

 (RCVS & European Specialist in Small Animal Surgery)
(Clinical Research Nurse)


Key People

  • Laura Owen RCVS & European Specialist in Small Animal Surgery
  • Professor Mike Herrtage, RCVS & European Specialist in Small Animal Medicine and Imaging
  • Amy Stelman, Clinical Research Nurse
  • Cathryn Mellersh, Head of Canine Genetics at the Animal Health Trust

Study location

Queen’s Veterinary School Hospital
Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ES
Phone number: 01223 337621