Click here to visit the most complete Maltese site on the WWW
Please bear in mind when reading topics pertaining to health issues, that most of these questions were answered by helpful Maltese owners with no formal education in veterinary medicine. When in doubt seek a professionals advise.
Archived Message

by Vonnie
HydrocephalusMy beloved 2 year old male Maltese, Thor, passed away suddenly approximately ten days ago. The necropsy revealed "severe hydrocephalus" resulting from a genetic condition. We had no warning of this, and there were no visible or behavioral signs of this problem before his death. In fact, he passed a complete physical examination with his vet less than 24 hours before he died. Has anyone else had a Maltese who has passed away or suffered from this condition? I am struggling to understand and accept what has happened and would appreciate any information or insight anyone could provide regarding this condition.


Hi Vonnie. I am so sorry about your loss. I've never heard of this condition, but I just wanted to express my deepest sympathy to you. You and your baby will meet again someday at Rainbow Bridge!

Vonnie, My heart goes out to you, how sad......I do not know anything about this, but will be watching to see what others say about it. I am so sorry for your loss, I truly am.
Robin K.
Vonnie, although I have not experienced this problem, my heart goes out to you having lost my Chico in Nov. (he was 16 yrs old). This is a very hard thing to go thru especially when it is not expected and you are not alone. Please check out "Rainbow Bridge". It will help in your grieving. My Chico was everything to me and it was like someone ripping my heart out. Only time will heal the pain you are experiencing. All of the people on this site are wonderful and will help you through it. My thoughts are with you.
Libby & Buster
I've never heard of that, how scary. Sorry I can't be of any help, but my heart goes out to you for the loss os your beloved little baby.
Oh Vonnie, I am so, so sorry to hear about your sudden loss. I don't know anything about this terrible disease but do know about losing one of these precious babies. I'm sure you are still in shock but know this, time will heal. Eventually, getting a new healthy baby will help also. I'll keep you in my prayers. With sincere sympathy,
Robin D.
Vonnie, I'm so very sorry for your loss of Thor. Only time can heal your heart. I'm sure you have many happy memories of him that will be less painful to think about as time goes on.
Vonnie: So sorry about your baby. I don't have any information for you, but wanted to let you know we feel terrible about what has happened. Love and prayers. Shelley, KoKo, & Shayna
Vonnie, My deepest sympathy for you and your family. My maltese just turned one, and we love him so much. If I find out anything about hydrocephalus I will definitely get in touch with you. be strong, karen
Karen and Freckles
Vonnie: so sorry for your loss. I've never heard of this condition. So I'm not much help. Just wanted to express my sympathy.
Vonnie, I am so sorry to read about your baby and I know how devastated you feel. I looked in my book The Complete Book of Dog Health by William J. Kay, DVM. The information on hydrocephalus was very limited and mainly dealing with puppies. It says that " in toy breeds, an unusually large head dome may indicate hydrocephalus, or an accumulation of fluid in the brain. This may or may not cause problems." I don't know if the vet explained what hydrocephalus was, how it can be contracted, or if it is genetic, but that is all the book had in there on this. I'm sorry I don't have any more information for you. Once again, I'm saddened to read about your loss.
Vonnie, I'm so sorry about your little one. I looked in a couple of books I have and there is hardly anything. Both said it is an accumulation of fluid in the brain, which is *sometimes* indicated by an unusually large head dome in toy breeds. I'm sorry I can't help more.
I am so sorry to hear of your loss and I hope in time you will be able to understand what happened to your baby. I have never heard of this and hope that someone here can help with an explanation. You will be in our thoughts and prayers!!
Donna & Gracie
Hydrocephalus is a blockage of the normal flow of cerbral spinal fluid (CSF) between the ventricles of the brain and the spinal canal. In humans, the most obvious effect is a large head size due to the build-up of CSF. In this case, children will have shunts implanted in the head to regulate CSF flow. Other signs of hydrocephalus include bulging fontanels and irritability. In humans this condition is most often a result of spina bifida...where the spinal cord does not fully develop. Without reduction of CSF buildup, increased brain damage and death may result.

All of this info is in regards to humans...not sure of the canine carry over. Anyway, hope it helps. My prayers are with you...

Hi Vonnie. I am deeply saddened by your loss. I lost a pet several years ago to diabetes and to this day, I still hurt when I think about it. I know the Maltese can have asthma attacks (mine will breath weird sometimes), but I have not heard of this disease. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
So sorry ! I agree with David, it is the same with dogs. It is usually found only in puppies, the fact that you had him for 2 years is remarkable ! Wishing you the best !

Copyright 1998 © Jay Bianco All rights reserved.