Circumcaval ureter (retrocaval ureter) is a ureteral disease of dogs characterized by abnormal ureteral positioning.
In this disease, the ureter exits the kidney at the caudal end of the renal hilus and passes dorsal to the caudal vena cava resulting in ureteral stenosis and hydronephrosis at the ureteropelvic junction.
This condition is often an incidental finding at postmortem but has been diagnosed antemortem in dogs.
It may occur unilaterally (more common) or bilaterally.
Diagnosis may be difficult but can be presumptively diagnosed pre-surgically with excretory urography, static fluid magnetic resonance urography and dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance urography.
A differential diagnosis would include other causes of hydronephrosis such as ureteroliths, nephroliths, pyelonephritis, urothelial carcinoma, ureteral stenosis, ureteral atresia, ureteral duplication, ectopic ureter and ureteral unicornis.
Unilateral circumcaval ureters can be surgically corrected by transection and anastomosis of the ureter and repositioning it ventral to the vena cava, usually resulting in resolution of clinical signs.
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