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Dr Caroline
Dr Caroline, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 643
Experience:  20 yrs of dog and cat general practice, emergency, certified in acupuncture
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My dog has hydrocephalus. He is only two years old. He was

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My dog has hydrocephalus. He is only two years old. He was a normal dog 3 months ago. I have him on brain food, high doses of vitamins. Is there a cure and anything else we can do for him?   painful
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr Caroline replied 7 years ago.


sorry to hear about the news!

To better assist you, can you answer the following questions?

-How was his hydrocephalus diagnosed?

-Which brain food are you giving him?

-You mentioned he was normal 3 months ago, what are his symptoms?

-You wrote painful, is he painful? what is he doing?

-How much and which vitamins are you giving him?


Let me know, looking forward to assist you.

Thank you for your question.




Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I first took Chewie to the regular vet. His post-prandial bile acid was elevated but not as high as the vet would expect to cause Chewie's neurological dysfunction. They started him on lactulose 3 ml 3 x a day. IThis medicine seems to help his disoriented spells of walking around screaming this strange cry. At first I would be able to console him. Now it's impossible. He does go down all the way to the floor now and shakes with the screams. Before he would walk around and scream like he is looking for something. Sometimes when I hold him tight and give him his toy he will calm down. Not often enough. I took him into the neurology center in southern california and had an MRI done. Their finding was moderate diffuse nonobstructive hydrocephalus with diffuse sulcal enlargement consistent with diffuse cortical atrophy. Differentials include largely degenerative ceroid lipofuseinosis storage disease etiologies. He is on his prescription diet brain food, B- complex, vitamin E ( 100 IU/day) selennium ( 50 mcg/day) and omega 3 fatty acid. Chewie is a two year old Shih-Tuz mix. He was a rescue so I don't have any health history from the mother or father. He is such a great dog. Any suggestions? I have been reading about prednisone however not sure if that will do long term damage. At this point I am not sure that should be a concern. I asked about the pain because I can't tell if he is in pain during these episodes. He sure seems scared.
Expert:  Dr Caroline replied 7 years ago.


looks like we may have 2 problems!

if your dog did improve on lactulose, it maybe that some of the symptoms are due to a liver shunt. If the lactulose does not work anymore, the liver shunt and/or the hydrocephalus could be the culprit. we won't be able to tell.


Here is a link about hydrocephalus:


It is hard to tell if he is painful, probably his mentation is just not normal.

As for hydrocephalus treatment:

-Shunt surgically implanted (different surgery techniques). Symptoms can be helped. If some permanent damage is not done, some symptoms may not improve. Complications includes infection, which has a lower rate then in humans. Some will clog after a year (10-15 % for certain practices). Needed if severe disease.

-Prednisone or dexamethasone. Yes, long term it may induce Cushing symptoms, but dogs may get a better quality of life for several months/years depending of how severe their condition is. It will not slow down the progression of the disease process. not sure it is very good for the liver problem though! but you may have no choice!

-Some neurologist also use Furosemide. Some thinks it does not work well.

-Acetazolamide: does decrease the CSF fluid formation, but it's use is limited due to the fact the blood becomes very acid.


You may want to continue the lactulose, and maybe even ask about adding some antibiotics like amoxicillin. If the liver is of concern, a low protein/high quality protein diet might be better instead of the brain diet!


I hope all this discussion can help you communicate with your primary care veterinarian and/or the neurologist to find what will be the best approach for Chewie.

i will hope for the best!


Let me know if you have more questions, or need additional information.

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