March 12, 2006
Below is information related to neurosurgery for dogs with hydrocephalus.
Ventriculoperitoneal shunts can be placed inside the brain to drain excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from within the brain to the abdomen. The excess CSF, when routed into the abdomen, will be reabsorbed by the body. The purpose of placing the ventricoloperitoneal shunt is to reduce the amount of CSF build up within the brain and cranial vault, thereby reducing the amount of pressure being put on the brain itself.
This particular surgery is not indicated in Bodhi's case simply because he has a very little cortical part of his brain remaining. Removing the fluid will not increase how much cortical brain he has, and in Bodhi's case may make things worse, because his body has already learned how to compensate for what he has.
The surgery mentioned above is usually recommended for cases where hydrocephalus is present and symptoms are progressively becoming worse, and when hydrocephalus is diagnosed and is simply compressing an otherwise normal brain. But in Bodhi's case, his brain is not normal, the effects of the hydrocephalus has already changed his brain (and had probably already done so by the time he was born), to the point that surgery would not be beneficial for him. But there are rare cases out there that surgery may be beneficial.