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Anisocoria in 15 year old cat.

Species: Cat
Breed: short hair domestic
Age: 11-15 years
Taz is 15 years old. For the past couple weeks I have noticed that her right eye is strange...meaning the pupil looks larger than the other eye and it looks like a film is covering the whole eye. She does not seemed bothered by this at all. She doesn't paw at it or anything. She acts normal in every way except for how the eye looks. I asked my vet and he said it was something in her brain that did this but that didn't sit right with me. What is it and what do I do about it?

Thanks.

(I didn't see you had answered the last time until today but still want to know what to do for my little old lady)


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

What you are describing with the pupils being different sizes is called anisocoria. There are several possible reasons for anisocoria in a cat. What your vet is describing with "something in the brain" certainly can be true. Anisocoria can be due to a tumor affecting the optic nerve which travels from the eye to the brain. It's hard to diagnose this type of thing without doing expensive tests like an MRI or a CT scan.

However, a tumor should not really cause a film to cover the eye. If the film is on the outside of the eye then it sounds like there could be damage to the cornea. Another possibility is an immune mediated problem that is causing the cells on the cornea to react.

If, however, the film is more inside of the cornea she could have a condition called uveitis. There are many possible causes for uveitis but it always means that something serious is going on inside the body. Viruses like Feline Leukemia or FIP can do this but these are not common in a 15 year old cat. A variety of other illnesses can do this as well.

Glaucoma could cause issues like this as well. Glaucomia is a buildup of pressure in one eye. It is quite painful but cats will often show no outward signs of pain.

If the film is something new it may be worthwhile to have your vet take a look as this may give him a new clue as to what is going on. Another option is to ask your vet for a referral to a veterinary ophthalmologist as these vets are used to seeing unusual conditions in eyes.

It definitely sounds like something that is worth checking out. Whether or not it is causing her discomfort is debatable, but my guess is that this could be uncomfortable for her.

Dr. Marie


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.