Causes of canine juvenile hydrocephalus have been well documented. However, the effects of hydrocephalus on periventricular white matter have been only partially described. The present report shows that hydrocephalus-associated lesions of the periventricular white matter, i.e., formation of diverticula, clefts, and tears, are prevalent. Marked hydrocephalus was identified at necropsy in 20 juvenile dogs between 1990 and 1999. The severity grade was based upon a ratio of lateral ventricular dimensions to cortical thickness. All animals exhibited ependymal lesions consisting of attenuation, with or without abortive attempts of ependymal regeneration, and ulceration. In 10 dogs (50%), unilateral or bilateral periventricular diverticula and cleft formation in the region of the caudate nucleus were observed. The diverticula were formed at the caudal pole of the caudate nucleus, communicated with the ventricular lumen, and were associated with ependymal denudation. Loss of the ependymal lining probably contributes to a bulk shift of cerebrospinal fluid from the ventricular lumen to the periventricular white matter, leading to diverticulum formation. Clefts were observed within the parenchyma at the border of the internal capsule and putamen, consistent with an ischemic insult. Occasionally tearing with separation of the caudate nucleus from the subcortical white matter was found, representing unification of expanding clefts and diverticula. In one of the few clinically well-documented cases, tearing was correlated with a sudden decline in neurologic function, culminating in euthanasia. However, tears and clefts may exhibit a chronicity of several days, as indicated by the presence of astroglial scars along the lesion margins.
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