Genetics Canada

Neuropathic Hydrocephalus

Neuropathic Hydrocephalus (NH) is a lethal disorder linked to a genetic condition caused by a recessive mutation that affects Angus and Angus-influenced cattle. Affected calves are born dead with an extremely large cranium with little or no brain material or spinal cord. It is probable that a large percentage of mortalities relating to NH occur through embryonic or fetal loss during gestation, which causes the defect to go misdiagnosed or unnoticed.

A diagnostic test for NH developed by Dr. Jon Beever at the University of Illinois, in collaboration with Dr. David Steffen at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the American Angus Association, is now available commercially through Zoetis Genetics.

For more information about NH and the importance of testing suspect animals, click here.

  • Testing of suspect animals is essential to avoid the negative impact of NH and slow proliferation of the recessive gene.

    Samples for testing may be submitted in one of the following forms:

    • Hair follicles: When sending hair samples, please make sure at least 25 follicles (bulb intact) are included to ensure an adequate volume of DNA to complete the test.
    • Blood collector cards
    • Semen samples