Incontinence/Ectopic Ureter


It is important to differentiate incontinence (involuntary urine leakage) from behavioral urinary issues such as submissive urination, a simple lack of house training or the territorial marking of an unaltered male. Some Wheatens in their geriatric years may have a senile loss of house-training that comes from canine neurological dysfunction.  If your Wheaten is urinating in the house voluntarily this is different from incontinence. Some Wheatens can revert back to pre-housebreaking issues when they are around a year of age.  This will require you to housebreak the dog a second time. Watch your dog closely, discuss issues with your veterinarian and breeder to be sure what you are seeing is really incontinence.

Some medical reasons for incontinence in a young Wheaten puppy may be:

Under developed bladder:  Many puppies will leak urine when they become excited. In many cases the puppy outgrows this condition. Read this article.

Submissive urination:
Treated with training Please read this article to help you and your dog with submissive urination.

Renal Dysplasia: Renal Dysplasia (RD) is the abnormal development of the kidney (also known as Juvenile Renal Disease).  This malformation can result in early renal failure. Prognosis is not good even with medication and diet changes. Wheatens diagnosed with RD are azotemic, they have low urine specific gravity, high BUN and high creatinine. They are poor doers meaning they don’t have a lot of muscle and/or may not be the same size as other littermates. An ultrasound of the lower abdomen will diagnose this disease. Wheaten Terriers are known to have a predisposition to this genetic condition according to research.

Urinary Tract Infection: Diagnosed with urinalysis. Treated with antibiotics. Reoccurring UTI’s should be closely monitored with periodic urinalysis’ as defined by your veterinarian and SCWT researchers. The PLN Variant Gene Test should be performed on these dogs.

Ectopic Ureter: Instead of connecting to the urinary bladder, the ureter transporting urine from the kidney connects to the vagina or rectum so that there is no storage of urine. This condition is typically noted in a puppy that simply cannot be house-broken and is wet. The condition may be solved surgically and with medication or simply with diapers. Wheaten Webinar on Ectopic Ureters. Read more at the links below. Wheaten Terriers are known to have a predisposition to this genetic condition according to research.

In an adult Wheaten urinary incontinence may be a result of:

Spinal Cord injuries
Kidney Failure/PLN
Weak Bladder Sphincter
Neurological Dysfunction
Urinary Tract Infection: Treated with medication. Urinalysis & UPC should be performed as recommended in the Health Testing Section of this website. 
Spay Incontinence:
Middle-aged to older spayed female dogs may have  “spay incontinence.” This is a form of incontinence commonly caused by lower estrogen levels, which can lead to a loss of muscle tone in the urethra. Often treated with medication.

Most importantly, talk to your veterinarian and breeder when incontinence becomes an issue. Refer to the SCWT annual health testing guidelines and ensure that your Wheaten is up to date on health testing. Remember, as soon as incontinence becomes an issue you should repeat the blood and urine work.

In all cases we ask that all breeders and owners please report dogs with these conditions to the SCWT Health and Pedigree Database. Wheaten Terrier owners can view the health testing protocols on this website.

Additional Links: – Wheaten Terriers & Ectopic Ureters OSU School of Veterinary Medicine

Thank you to the MarVist Pet Library for information on Incontinence. We credit them with this information.

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