Hydrocephalus is a medical condition that involves immoderate fluid accumulation within the skull -- specifically cerebrospinal fluid. When too much of this fluid makes its way into the skull, it leads to elevated strain and tension of the brain -- yikes. Hydrocephalus doesn't only affect canines, but also other furry friends such as cats. It also often affects people.
Two Kinds of Hydrocephalus
The neurological disease exists in two distinct types. Some canines enter the world with it -- a result of birth defects. This is known as primary hydrocephalus. Others develop the disease as a result of brain tumors and wounding of the brain -- secondary hydrocephalus. If any health condition that stops the brain's cerebrospinal fluid from drawing off properly occurs, it could lead to the emergence of hydrocephalus. Both meningitis and encephalitis are often associated with hydrocephalus.
Signs of Hydrocephalus
Wee puppies who are born with hydrocephalus often display signs such as unusually small size in comparison to siblings, sluggish development, coordination problems, tremors, antsy behavior, eyesight issues and skulls that have dome-like shapes. They also frequently have big problems learning and in picking up on training. Puppies with hydrocephalus frequently pass away quickly due to the immense stress of the skull's extra fluid. Other indications that are frequently linked to the condition are throwing up, exhaustion, easily annoyed temperament, unusually energetic behavior and eyes that point in a subtle downward direction. The signs often intensify with time. It is important to note, too, that not all dogs with the condition necessarily show symptoms. If you are concerned that your pooch might have hydrocephalus, set up at veterinarian appointment as soon as possible, the quicker the better, as the disease sometimes can bring upon life-threatening effects.
Susceptibility to Hydrocephalus
Some types of dogs have predispositions to this ailment. Hydrocephalus is especially prevalent in small canines of the toy group -- think Chihuahuas, Pomeranians and Yorkshire terriers. The condition is also extremely common in canines with snub noses and circular heads, such as Lhasa apsos, Boston terriers and English bulldogs.
Breeding and Hydrocephalus
Dogs with hydrocephalus are generally not used for breeding purposes. Individuals handling dogs who are related to other animals with the condition are frequently advised to not breed them. If a pair of dogs produces a puppy with hydrocephalus, they are often not encouraged to reproduce anymore, too.
By Naomi Millburn
The Complete Healthy Dog Handbook; Betsy Brevitz
Michigan Veterinary Specialists: Hydrocephalus
University of Prince Edward Island: Hydrocephalus
Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice: Hydrocephalus in Dogs and Cats
About the Author
Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.