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Why My Cat’s Pupils Are Different Sizes

 Why My Cat’s Pupils Are Different Sizes



Anisocoria, which refers to unequal pupil sizes, is a manifestation of various eye issues in felines. According to Dr. Ann Bosiack, a highly qualified veterinarian at Animal Eye Care of Richmond, anisocoria is not a common occurrence. While there are instances where anisocoria in cats may resolve spontaneously, it is advisable to consult your veterinarian if you notice any new and unusual symptoms in your cat. If anisocoria occurs suddenly or if your cat exhibits neurological signs like seizures, circling, or head tilt, it is crucial to seek veterinary attention promptly.

Anisocoria, a condition characterized by your cat having pupils of different sizes, can be a source of worry for pet owners. Although it may seem alarming, anisocoria is a common occurrence in cats and can be attributed to various factors. This article aims to delve into the causes of anisocoria in cats, potential underlying problems, and when it is necessary to consult a veterinarian.


Discover more about the causes of anisocoria in cats, the symptoms to watch out for, and the available treatment options below.

What Is Anisocoria & What Causes It?

According to Dr. Bosiack, anisocoria is commonly an indication of underlying health, ocular, or neurological issues. Without any additional symptoms, determining the cause of different pupil sizes in cats would be challenging for pet owners, as stated by her. Seeking advice from a veterinarian is necessary in such cases.do not forget to visit our website to know more


Eye surface issues (e.g. uveitis)

Different conditions such as blunt trauma, cataracts, and corneal ulceration can lead to a variety of pupil shapes, which are often associated with anterior uveitis. If both eyes are impacted, it could indicate the presence of an infectious or autoimmune disease, or even metastatic cancer.do not forget to visit our website to know more


Optic nerve issues

Anisocoria in cats can be caused by optic nerve issues, such as viral infections like feline leukemia virus (FeLV). This condition, known as spastic pupil syndrome, can cause the pupils to dilate and result in slow pupillary light reflexes. Interestingly, it may resolve on its own and then reoccur, sometimes affecting different eyes. While FeLV-positive cats are commonly associated with this syndrome, it is important to note that other factors, such as co-infections with Bartonella henselae and Sarcocystis sp., can also contribute to changes in pupil sizes.

Iris atrophy

Iris atrophy is an uncommon disorder that may occur as a result of aging, chronic uveitis, glaucoma, or trauma. The symptoms resemble those of optic neuritis, such as varying pupil sizes and sluggish pupillary light reflexes, along with the thinning of the iris and an irregularly shaped pupil.do not forget to visit our website to know more


Retinal detachment

1. Retinal detachment can occur in cats due to various health conditions and diseases, including high blood pressure, feline infectious peritonitis, and feline leukemia. In addition to retinal detachment, these conditions can also cause inflammation in the choroid and retina. Some common signs of retinal detachment include:

Is Anisocoria in Cats Serious?

Dr. Miller emphasizes that there are numerous factors that can cause your cat's pupils to have varying sizes, some of which can be extremely critical and require immediate attention. In the event that your cat experiences sudden anisocoria, Dr. Miller strongly advises treating it as an emergency and promptly reaching out to your veterinarian. While the discrepancy in pupil sizes itself may not lead to permanent vision impairment, she warns that the underlying cause could potentially inflict severe harm to your cat's eyesight.

How Does a Vet Diagnose Anisocoria?

In addition to these three fundamental eye examinations, your veterinarian will assess your cat's vision and nerve functions. They may also conduct further tests, such as a blood panel and imaging (such as X-rays), to investigate other potential causes due to the severity of eye abnormalities, according to the veterinarian.


Dr. Miller explains that because general anesthesia can affect how pupils respond to light, your veterinarian will initially attempt to evaluate your cat while they are awake. However, there are certain situations, such as if your cat displays signs of fear, anxiety, or stress, or if a specific test (like an MRI) requires special handling that necessitates sedation or anesthesia.

In addition, Dr. Miller explains that the duration of a diagnosis can differ based on the root cause. Some causes, such as glaucoma, eye injuries, and certain metabolic conditions, can be identified on the very same day. Nevertheless, if the initial diagnostic tests are inconclusive, your veterinarian might send samples to a laboratory, which could take approximately one week to obtain the results.


In the event of a complex or perplexing case of anisocoria, your veterinarian may recommend consulting a specialist, such as an ophthalmologist or internal medicine specialist.

How Treatable Is Anisocoria in Cats?

As we’ve mentioned, most conditions causing anisocoria aren’t life-threatening. However, Dr. Miller says treatment is necessary to prevent possible vision loss. The following are the most common causes of anisocoria in cats and the available treatments.


Dr. Bosiack asserts that although not all causes can be treated, a significant number of them can be addressed, and some even resolve spontaneously. She further mentions that cats suffering from blindness caused by anisocoria have a reasonably high likelihood of recovering, albeit contingent upon the underlying cause.

To summarize, anisocoria in felines can present as a multifaceted condition with numerous possible origins. Although certain instances may be harmless, others could signify underlying health problems that demand immediate veterinary care. As a conscientious cat guardian, it is vital to remain observant of your cat's ocular health, diligently monitor for any alterations, and promptly seek expert guidance when necessary. Regular visits to the veterinarian can assist in early identification and intervention, ultimately promoting the general well-being and contentment of your cherished feline companion.

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