Hydrocephalus is a condition commonly known as water in the brain. It is caused by cerebrospinal fluid that accumulates beneath the skull because it cannot drain or circulate. The head seems enlarged and pronounced in the forehead area. It causes extreme pressure on the brain causing damage, seizures, pain, migraines and it can lead to death.
Super Hero is a cat with one of the worse cases of hydrocephalus. Cats with these conditions are most likely on medications for their whole lives and require a lot of commitment and care, not to mention the cost of their treatments that would probably go up to thousands and thousands of dollars. Super Hero is no exception— this cat and his humans have really gone through a lot to keep him alive.
He was born on June 2013 in a shelter in New Jersey next to other five cats. From that litter of six, three were hydrocephalic, but Super Hero and Ollie were the most severe cases. The rescue wanted to euthanize both cats but the vet refused since they acted normal— if it was not for their enlarged heads, everything seemed fine.
It took three months for Hero and Ollie to be adopted, which is not that long considering their condition. Fortunately they found a loving family committed to taking care of them. At their new home, they were referred to as the Bobblehead Twins.
They were taken to several vets and a neurologist. They were treated in NorthStar Vets in Robbinsville where their condition had good possibilities of getting a proper treatment.
Soon enough Super Hero got worse and the family thought they would lose him but he improved fast. It was probably just a storm passing by that caused a rapid change in the barometric air pressure, a phenomenon that changes the internal pressure in the head of hydrocephalic patients causing more swelling of the brain. However, Ollie was the one that didn’t make it. Despite being in intensive care in North Star Vets for five days, he died at the end of November.
After Ollie died, Super Hero got depressed and stopped eating and playing for a few weeks. But he recovered and defied the odds against him, celebrating his first birthday months later.
When his health badly deteriorated in the fall of 2014, his humans took his care to the Red Bank Veterinary Hospital, where Dr. Eric Glass, the Director of Neurology and Neurosurgery and one of the best doctors treating hydrocephalic patients, recommended implanting a shunt in Super Hero. This is a device that helps drain the excess cerebrospinal fluid from his head to his abdomen to decrease the pressure.
While his family was collecting the money for this and still trying other options, Super Hero’s MRI results done in December showed that the blood supply had been cut and most of his brain had died, and that the remaining part of his brain was keeping him alive.
He had surgery in February this year and even though the shunt was implanted, it had to be revised twice to turn the pressure up since too much fluid was draining from his head. Despite the fact that only a small part of his brain is functional, this cat is still very normal. He plays, runs, meows and cuddles.
He still suffers setbacks, though: small ones caused by the weather and large ones where his consciousness decreases. He has gone through a lot— MRIs, a CT scan, the two shunt revisions, many X-rays, a spinal tap and many hospitalizations, but his family is still committed to fight ’til the end.
Super Hero is defying all odds against him and two months ago, he celebrated his second birthday. For paying for his bills, his family continuously asks for donations. If you want to help them, this is where you can. You can also visit hisFacebook page for updates on how his doing and leave him a comment.