Hydrocephalus Is A Neurological Condition Caused By An Excess Of Cerebrospinal Fluid Inside The Skull
Hydrocephalus is a neurological condition caused by an excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) inside the skull. It can be congenital (the dog is born with the problem) or acquired. The most commonly affected are Toy and small breeds of dog, along with brachycephalic (long faced) breeds. CSF is a source of nutrients to the nervous system cells. If the normal flow of CSF can be obstructed by a brain tumor, congenital malformation, or swelling due to inflammation, CSF accumulates within the brain. The pressure in the brain results in the various symptoms pet owners may see in dogs with hydrocephalus. Symptoms can vary. Most often involve difficulty walking normally or behavioral issues. The forehead or the entire skull may appear larger than usual due to the CSF inside. Hydrocephalus affects less than 20 percent of dogs. More than 75 percent of these dogs have extreme difficulty with housebreaking. These dogs struggle to learn and retain simple commands, such as sit or stay. Seizures may occasionally be seen in dogs diagnosed with the congenital form. This means they were born with structural abnormalities of their skull. Acquired hydrocephalum does not strike certain breeds more than others. It is an inherited defect that is not easily prevented. Drugs that help to reduce the amount of CSf in the dog's brain, as well as help with swelling and inflammation, are commonly prescribed. Surgery to place a shunt is the usual long-term solution. . . .