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Prevalence of circumcaval ureters and double caudal vena cava in cats

Régine Bélanger DVM, MVSc1, Cindy L. Shmon DVM, DVSc2, Peter J. Gilbert BVSc, MvetSc3, and Kathleen A. Linn DVM, MS4
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  • 1 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 4B5, Canada.
  • | 2 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 4B5, Canada.
  • | 3 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 4B5, Canada.
  • | 4 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 4B5, Canada.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the prevalence of circumcaval ureters and other caudal vena cava variations in cats and determine whether circumcaval ureters were associated with macroscopic evidence of ureteral obstruction.

Sample—301 domestic cat cadavers obtained from an animal shelter.

Procedures—All cat cadavers were examined, and anatomic variations of the ureters and caudal vena cava were recorded. In cadavers with a circumcaval ureter, kidney length, width, and height were measured, and the ureters were examined macroscopically to determine whether there was gross evidence of ureteral obstruction in cats with circumcaval ureters.

Results—At least 1 circumcaval ureter was present in 106 of the 301 (35.2%) cats, with a right circumcaval ureter identified in 92 (30.6%) cats, a left circumcaval ureter identified in 4 (1.3%), and bilateral circumcaval ureters identified in 10 (3.3%). Twenty-one (7.0%) cats had a double caudal vena cava, including 2 cats in which the double caudal vena cava was the only anatomic abnormality identified. No sex predilection for anatomic abnormalities was found. Mean right kidney length was significantly greater than mean left kidney length in cats with a right circumcaval ureter.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Circumcaval ureter was present in approximately a third of cats in this study. Variation in the development of the caudal vena cava is the proposed cause. The clinical relevance of this variation is unknown.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Bélanger's present address is Centre hospitalier universitaire vétérinaire, Faculté de médecine vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, St Hyacinthe, QC J2S 2M2, Canada.

Supported by the University of Saskatchewan Companion Animal Health Fund.

Presented in abstract form at the American College of Veterinary Surgeons Veterinary Symposium, Seattle, October 2010.

The authors thank Dr. John Campbell for help with statistical analyses.

Address correspondence to Dr. Bélanger (regine.belanger@umontreal.ca).