Hereditary hydrocephalus in laboratory-reared golden hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus). Academic Article uri icon


  • A colony of golden hamsters had an ongoing problem with hydrocephalus. In an attempt to clear the colony of the problem, new breeders from another supplier had been purchased. At termination of a behavioral study, the brain was collected from 35 animals (four of which had died with hydrocephalus during the study) and was examined macroscopically and by light microscopy. Although no animals manifested obvious behavioral changes, 31 of 35 (88.6%, 13/15 males and 18/20 females in control and manipulated groups) had hydrocephalus. Twenty-five animals had macroscopically identifiable hydrocephalus, and six had hydrocephalus identified microscopically. Neither teratogenic concentrations of metals nor mycotoxins were detected in tissues or food, and sera from breeders tested negative for antibodies to Sendai virus, reovirus 3, and lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus. Trial matings of breeders expected to produce hydrocephalic offspring resulted in affected offspring, and mating of breeders expected to produce normal offspring resulted in normal or less-affected offspring. Hydrocephalus was confirmed retrospectively in some breeders. Hereditary hydrocephalus appears to be widespread in hamster stocks in Central Europe. Affected animals do not manifest signs of disease and usually die without obvious premonitory signs. Despite severe hydrocephalus, the animals can breed, and animal handlers do not identify motor deficits or abnormal behavioral activity. This entity is unlike the previously described, hereditary hydrocephalus of hamsters that is phenotypically identifiable and usually is lethal before they attain breeding age.

published proceedings

  • Vet Pathol

author list (cited authors)

  • Edwards, J. F., Gebhardt-Henrich, S., Fischer, K., Hauzenberger, A., Konar, M., & Steiger, A.

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Edwards, JF||Gebhardt-Henrich, S||Fischer, K||Hauzenberger, A||Konar, M||Steiger, A

publication date

  • July 2006