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What Are The Three Causes Of Hydrocephalus?




Hydrocephalus is a medical condition that occurs when there is an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the brain. This excess fluid puts pressure on the brain, causing it to enlarge and leading to a range of potential symptoms, including headache, vomiting, and problems with vision, balance, and cognitive function. There are several potential causes of hydrocephalus, and understanding these can be important for both diagnosis and treatment. 

In this article, we will explore three of the main causes of hydrocephalus: congenital hydrocephalus, acquired hydrocephalus, and normal pressure hydrocephalus.

1. Congenital Hydrocephalus

Congenital hydrocephalus refers to hydrocephalus that is present at birth. This type of hydrocephalus can be caused by a number of factors, including genetics, infections, or problems with fetal development. Some of the specific causes of congenital hydrocephalus include: 

Genetic mutations: Certain genetic mutations can lead to hydrocephalus. For example, mutations in the L1CAM gene have been linked to a type of hydrocephalus called X-linked hydrocephalus, which occurs more commonly in males. 

Infections: Some infections that occur during pregnancy, such as rubella or cytomegalovirus, can lead to hydrocephalus in the developing fetus. 

Abnormal fetal development: Hydrocephalus can also be caused by problems with fetal development, such as when the ventricles (the fluid-filled spaces within the brain) do not develop properly.

2. Acquired Hydrocephalus

Acquired hydrocephalus refers to hydrocephalus that develops after birth. This type of hydrocephalus can be caused by a variety of factors, including brain injuries, infections, or tumors. Some of the specific causes of acquired hydrocephalus include: 

Brain injuries: Traumatic brain injuries, such as those sustained in a car accident or a fall, can cause hydrocephalus. The injury can damage the structures in the brain that help to regulate the flow of CSF, leading to an accumulation of fluid. 

Infections: Infections of the brain, such as meningitis or encephalitis, can cause hydrocephalus by damaging the structures that help to regulate the flow of CSF. 

Tumors: Tumors in the brain can obstruct the flow of CSF and lead to hydrocephalus. This can occur with both cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.

3. Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

Normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) is a type of hydrocephalus that occurs when there is an accumulation of CSF in the brain, but the pressure within the brain is normal or only slightly elevated. This type of hydrocephalus is most commonly seen in older adults, and it can cause a range of symptoms, including problems with walking and balance, incontinence, and cognitive problems. Some of the potential causes of NPH include: 

Brain injuries: Like acquired hydrocephalus, NPH can be caused by brain injuries that damage the structures that help to regulate the flow of CSF. Infections: Infections of the brain, such as meningitis or encephalitis, can also lead to NPH. 

Tumors: Tumors in the brain can obstruct the flow of CSF and cause NPH, as can other conditions that cause swelling or inflammation in the brain. 

Is hydrocephalus can be cured in Dogs?

Hydrocephalus is a medical condition in dogs that involves an abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) on the brain. This build-up can put pressure on the brain, resulting in neurological issues such as impaired vision, seizures, and even death if left untreated. 

The cause of hydrocephalus can vary from breed to breed, but it is most commonly seen in small breeds, including Chihuahuas and Shih Tzus. Currently, there is no known cure for hydrocephalus; however, there are treatments available that may help manage the symptoms associated with this illness. 

These treatments can include surgery or medications to reduce CSF production or improve the absorption of fluids into other parts of the body. Additionally, dietary changes may be recommended to help reduce inflammation and pressure on the brain.

How serious is hydrocephalus in Dogs?

Hydrocephalus, also known as “water on the brain”, is a serious medical condition in dogs that affects the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid. It is characterized by an abnormal accumulation of fluid inside the skull which can lead to severe neurological deficits. 

In many cases, hydrocephalus in dogs can be fatal if left untreated. Hydrocephalus usually develops due to an obstruction or malformation in the pathways that carry cerebrospinal fluid throughout the brain and spinal cord. 

The symptoms vary depending on the severity of hydrocephalus and vary from mild cases such as frequent headaches, lethargy, and impaired vision to more serious complications such as seizures and coma. Additionally, some dogs may develop irreversible cognitive decline due to hydrocephalus.


In conclusion, hydrocephalus is a serious medical condition that can be caused by genetic mutations, birth defects, or infection. It is important to be aware of the causes and to discuss them with your healthcare provider. Early recognition and treatment of hydrocephalus can be life-saving for those affected. It is also essential to become educated about the signs and symptoms of hydrocephalus in order to recognize it quickly.

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