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Therapeutic Management of Congenital Hydrocephalus in a Calf.


Hydrocephalus is accumulation of excessive fluid in duramater or ventricles of brain (Purohit et al., 2012). Hydrocephalus occurs mainly due to three reasons: excessive production of CSF, defective absorption of CSF and interference in CSF passage. Congenital hydrocephalus is known to be inherited in cattle and exacerbated in its manifestation by a co-existing hypovitaminosis. Compression of the brain ventricles in calves due to Vitamin - A deficiency causes failure of growth and sculpturing of cranial vault to accommodate the growing brain reported by Jubb and Kennedy (1970). This case reports presents congenital hydrocephalus in day old Holstein Friesian calf without nervous symptoms.

History and Diagnosis

A two months old female Holstein Friesian calf was presented with history of dome shaped skull (Fig.1), sluggish suckling reflexes, normal body temperature and slight dull in appearance with no history of dystocia during parturition. Clinical examination showed hydrocephalus, dizziness and no history of circling or nystagmus since birth. Physical examination revealed that, frontal bones of skull in that portion were not formed and under the skin a fluid filled cavity was present. Haematological studies revealed increased neutrophil and lymphocyte count. Biochemical studies revealed lower glucose content in CSF and chloride content was also lesser. Lateral view of skull reveled dome shaped enlargement with slight radio-lucent consistency (Fig. 2) indicating cerebospinal fluid in the cavity. On the basis of clinical, physical, haemato-biochemical and radiographic examination, the case was diagnosed as congenital hydrocephalus.


After thorough clinical examination, the calf was given Mannitol (osmotic diuretics) @ 2gm/kg b.wt. as a dehydrating agent to reduce intracranial pressure. To combat the infectious cause of hydrocephalus, Inj. Cefotaxime 500mg intramuscularly was given for five days along with Inj. Vit-A 1ml intramuscularly for every three days interval for four doses to rule out the cause of avitaminosis in calf. Supportively calf was given kept of fluid and Inj. Melonex plus (a) (Meloxicam and Paracetamol) to reduce pain arises due to intracranial pressure. The calf showed significant reduction of skull swelling after two months follow-up with routine suckling and physical activities.


Surgical correction of meningocele in non-descript cattle was reported earlier (Maji et al., 1994). Hydrocephalus is developmental defect in which there is disturbances in production or drainage of cerebrospinal fluid resulting in altered circulation (Fride, 1975). In congenital hydrocephalus inheritance and Vit-A deficiency have been implicated (Blood, 1987). Congenital hydrocephalus has been described in various animal species including cattle (Mouli, 1987; Balasubramanian et al., 1997; Sharda and Ingole, 2002). In cases of hydranencephaly there is complete loss of brain parenchyma leading to a large fluid filled cavity within the brain that is covered by a pial-glial membrane (Barkovich and Norman, 1989; Stevenson et al., 2001). This paper put on record successful medical management of congenital hydrocephalus in Holstein Friesian male calf.


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Fride, R.L. (1975). Developmental Neuropathology. Springer Verlag, New York.

Jubb, K.V.F. and Kennedy, P.C. (1970). Pathology of Domestic Animals. Vol. I. 2nd Edn., Academic Press, NYC.

Maji, A.K., Mallick, H. and Samanta, G.K. (1994). Surgical Management of Cranioschisis with meningocele in a female calf - A Case Report. Indian Vet J 71: 271-72.

Mouli, S.P. (1987). Surgical correction of congenital external hydrocephalus in an ongole bull calf. Indian Vet. J. 64: 696-98.

Purohit, G.N., Kumar, P., Solanki, K., Shekhar, C. and Yadav, S.P. (2012). Perspectives of fetal dystokia in cattle and buffalo. Vet. Sci. Dev. 2: 8.

Sharda, R. and Ingole, S.P. (2002). Congenital bilateral hydrocephalus in a Jersey cow calf - A case report. Indian Vet. J. 79: 965-66.

Stevenson, D.A., Hart, B.L. and Clericuzio, C.L. (2001). Hydra-nencephaly in an infant with vascular malformations. American J. Med. Genetics 104: 295-98.

R.V. Suryawanshi (1) and A.H. Ulemale (2)

Department of Veterinary Surgery and Radiology

Krantisinh Nana Patil College of Veterinary Science

Maharashtra Animal and Fishery Sciences University (MAFSU)

Shirwal - 412801

Dist. Satara (Maharashtra)

(1.) Assistant Professor and Corresponding author. E-mail:

(2.) Professor and Head

(a) - Brand of Intas Animal Health, Ahmedabad
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Title Annotation:Short Communication
Author:Suryawanshi, R.V.; Ulemale, A.H.
Publication:Intas Polivet
Article Type:Report
Date:Jan 1, 2018
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