The dog was suffering from Hydrocephalus and a brain cyst, using a shunt designed for a child, doctors saved the dog’s life.
Hydrocephalus, also called “water in the brain” occurs when excess cerebral spinal fluid collects inside the brain. This life threatening ailment—which can occur in people— can cause swelling in the brain, pain, brain damage, and death.
This week a 6 month old, 3 pound Chihuahua was successfully treated for Hydrocephalus and a brain cyst.
“Princess” was brought to WestVet by her owners on Saturday when the little dog became extremely weak and was having difficulty standing or walking.
Princess’ owners report that she is an affectionacte, active dog and has always been a quick learner. They were very alarmed when this began to change and she clearly was in distress. Princess was brought to WestVet during emergency hours last Saturday, after an examination by emergency doctors at WestVet, an MRI revealed that not only was the tiny dog suffering from Hydrocephalus, she also had a fluid-filled cyst on her brain—both were conditions she was born with; without surgery Princess would continue to have life threatening issues.
Her first few hours at WestVet were extremely critical, Princess was near death. Due to the quick response of the emergency team, she was stabilized.
Dr. Jeff Brourman, Board Certified Small Animal Surgeon and WestVet Chief of Staff, determined a shunt would need to be placed in the Princess’ brain to alleviate the pressure of the building fluid. The problem was finding one that would fit this tiny dog’s brain. That’s when St. Luke’s Hospital stepped in. They located a shunt typically used for small children.
During the 90 minute surgery, Dr. Brourman positioned the shunt so that it drained the fluid from both the hydrocephalus and the cyst. Now, two days later Princess has improved enough to return home.
Princess has been a sweetheart to work with for the past few days, our staff members have fallen in love with her! She is gentle and sweet natured and her determination to get healthy has been inspiring for us to witness. We are delighted that she will be reunited with her family later today and back home in her own bed tonight. Special thanks to St. Luke’s whose behind the scenes work helped us locate the important equipment Dr. Brourman needed in order to perform the surgery on such a tiny dog.