Water on the Brain in Dogs

Hydrocephalus is the state in which abnoraml dilation of ventricular system occurs due to increased volume of spinal fluid. When it happens, the ventricals connected with spinal cord are affected. The condition my affect one or both sides of brain and can take effect on entire ventrical system or only elements next to a site of ventricular system obstruction.

There are two types of hydrocephalus condition – obstructive and compensatory. Both conditions are congenital (present at birth) or acquired.

In obstructive hydrocephalus, spinal fluid accumulates due to an obstruction along normal circulatory pattern. 

In compensatory hydrocephalus, spinal fluid fills spaces where functional parts of nervous system have been destroyed and/or failed to develop. 

Hydrocephalus can also be caused due to over production of spinal fluid or a tumor in eye.


Bulldogs, Chihuahuas, Maltese, Pomeranians, Toy Poodles, Yorkshire Terriers, Lhasa Apsos, Cairn Terriers, Boston Terriers,Pugs, and Pekingese are more prone to congenital hyrocephalus. It is an inherited disease in Yorkshire terriers. Additionally, there is a high incidence of normal adult beagles that are found to have enlarged ventricular systems and yet are clinically without symptoms. Acquired hydrocephalus can occur in all breeds.

Symptoms for the condition include 


Wetting or soiling in the house


Excess vocalization




A large dome-shaped head (due to intracranial swelling)


Gait abnormalities


Abnormal breathing

Animal may arch its head back and extend all four legs

May be without symptoms

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