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Department of Veterinary Medicine

Cambridge Veterinary School

Urinary incontinence and urinary tract cancers; Wound management and reconstruction

There is much that remains unknown about urinary incontinence, and the complexity of the pathophysiology of urination is part of the appeal of this area of research. There are also aspects that are very similar to conditions that exist in human beings and the dog could prove a good model for further investigation/treatment of human disease.

Currently I am undertaking research projects into two causes of urinary incontinence - urethral sphincter mechanism incompetence (USMI) and ectopic ureters. The USMI project is focussing on a comparison of two surgical techniques to treat this condition (colposuspension and artificial urethral sphincter) and the role of urodynamic urethral pressure profiles in assessing these patients pre and intra-operatively. The ectopic ureter projects are assessing ureteral position in clinically normal Golden retrievers with the aim of developing a pre-breeding screening programme to reduce the incidence of ectopic ureters (wet puppies) in this breed and evaluating potential pre-operative factors that may influence outcome in dogs undergoing treatment for ectopic ureters.

I also have a strong interest in progressing our understanding, diagnosis and treatment of urinary tract cancers in dogs, which are often diagnosed late and lack good treatment options. 

Wound management and reconstruction is my second field of research interest. I am particularly excited by evidence-based wound management, negative pressure wound therapy and novel methods of wound reconstruction.


Laura graduated from the University of Bristol in 2001. After a three year period in first opinion practice, she completed a rotating Internship at the Royal Veterinary College, London, followed by a Small Animal Surgical Residency at the University of Bristol. She moved to the University of Cambridge in 2009 and obtained the ECVS Diploma in Small Animal Surgery in 2010. She is currently a Senior Lecturer in Small Animal Surgery, working within the soft tissue team and is both an RCVS and ECVS specialist in small animal surgery.


Key publications: 

Spaying and urinary incontinence in bitches under UK primary veterinary care: a case-control study. Pegram C., O'Neill DG, Church DB, Hall J, Owen L, Brodbelt DC. (2019) JSAP Jul, 60(7): 395-403

Associations between neutering and early-onset urinary incontinence in UK bitches under primary veterinary care. Pegram C., Brodbelt DC, Church DB, Hall J, Owen LJ, Chang YM & O'Neill DG. (2019) JSAP Dec, 60(12): 723-733

Ureteral ectopia and urethral sphincter mechanism incompetence: an update on diagnosis and management options. Owen LJ (2019) JSAP. Jan; 60(1): 3-17

Urinary incontinence in bitches under primary veterinary care in England: prevalence and risk factors. O'Neill DG, Riddell A., Church DB, Owen L, Brodbetl DC, Hall JL. (2017) JSAP Dec, 58(12)685-693


Urinary incontinence in male dogs under primary veterinary care in England: prevalence and risk factors. Hall JL, Owen L, Riddell A, Church DB, Brodbelt DC, O’Neill DG. (2017) JSAP Dec; 58(12): 685-693

Evaluation of an axial pattern flap based on the cranial cutaneous branch of the saphenous artery: a cadaveric perfusion study. Murdoch AP, Greenaway SN, Owen LJ & Danielski A. (2016)  Vet Surg. Oct; 45(7): 922-928 

Canine ovariohysterectomy: A survey of surgeon concerns and surgical complications encountered by newly graduated veterinarians. Bowlt Blacklock KL, Langer P, Halfacree Z, Yool DA, Corr S, Owen LJ, Friend E. & Ekiri A. (2016) J Vet Educ. Summer; 43(2):184-9.

Vacuum-assisted wound closure following urine induced skin and thigh muscle necrosis in a cat. Owen LJ, Hotston Moore A, Holt PE. (2009) Vet Comp Orth Traum. 5: 417-421 
Efficacy of adhesive incise drapes in preventing bacterial contamination of clean canine surgical wounds. Owen LJ, Gines JA, Knowles TG, Holt PE. (2009)  Vet Surg. 38(6): 732-7 
Other publications: 


Owen LJ (2015) Peritoneal Pericardial Herniorraphy. Complications in Small Animal Surgery: Diagnosis, Management and Prevention. Ed Griffon D. and Hammaide A. pp 383-387. 


▪ Owen LJ (2013) Surgical Drains. Feline Soft Tissue and General Surgery. Ed Langley-Hobbs, Ladlow and Demetriou. Pp 117-123 

Senior lecturer in Small Animal Surgery

Contact Details

Email address: 
Available for consultancy


Person keywords: 
PetPlan Charitable Trust