Hydrocephalus (Water on the Brain) in Dogs

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015

Definition of Hydrocephalus (Water On The Brain)

Hydrocephalus, also called “water on the brain,” is a condition characterized by abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF, inside the brain. Hydrocephalus usually is congenital, which means that puppies are born with it. Occasionally, dogs get hydrocephalus from head trauma, brain hemorrhage, Vitamin A deficiency, brain tumors or exposure to drugs, chemicals, bacteria, viruses or other toxins. Normally, the volume of CSF is carefully regulated by complex neurological mechanisms. CSF bathes the brain by flowing through a system of small chambers known as ventricles. When too much CSF is made or when the brain isn’t regulating it properly, fluid builds up in the ventricles, putting pressure on the brain. Some affected dogs show no symptoms of having this condition, although most eventually become uncomfortable, frightened and painful as the pressure inside their head keeps going up. Toy breeds with domed skulls – especially Chihuahuas – are predisposed to hydrocephalus.

Dog Health Center


Polycythemia in Dogs: Learn about Polycythemia, including how it can affect your dog, and what options are available to manage this type of blood condition.

Learn more about: Polycythemia