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Pet's Eye Color Changing? You May Be Right

By Essilor News

Some humans have hazel eyes that may change color throughout their lives, possibly achieving two completely different colors during the same day. But can pets' eye colors change? Yes. But why color is changing is what should concern pet owners.

Here's what everyone with a dog or cat should know about their pets' eye color changes.

Pet eye colors may have to do with age.
Both dogs and cats can experience eye color changes in their lifetimes. Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, veterinarian and San Francisco SPCA representative, told KCBS radio "most puppies are born with amber or yellow eyes but those will change to a dark brown by about eight weeks of age." She also says that cats naturally will get a "cobwebby" appearance to their irises as they age.

Not all dogs achieve the same eye color.
While Dr. Scarlett mentions most dogs experience an eye color change to dark brown, some dog breeds have different eye colors. For instance, a husky generally has blue eyes. But for a dog that doesn't naturally have blue eyes, a blue eye could indicate a disease called interstitial keratitis, "a corneal inflammation in which a bluish-white film appears over the clear window of the eye. It is caused by the same virus that causes infectious hepatitis," according to WebMD.

The disease can be serious and symptoms include watery eyes and squinting to avoid light. "Most dogs recover completely within a few weeks. In some cases the eye remains permanently clouded," says WebMD.

Check with your veterinarian about what the normal eye color is for your animal's breed.

Change in eye color can be a sign of several diseases.
A dog with cataracts will normally have eyes that look cloudy or bluish gray. "Be aware, though, that it's natural for a dog's lens to become cloudy, or gray, with age. This condition, called nuclear sclerosis, doesn't put a dog's vision in as much danger as cataracts might, and treatment isn't usually recommended," according to WebMD. However, always take your dog to the vet to be certain of which ailment he/she may be experiencing.

Eye color changes in dogs or cats can also indicate an infection of the iris or cornea conditions according to Dr. Scarlett.

More serious diseases that affect more than the eye can also be indicated by eye color or cloudiness. For instance, a cat's eye color change could be a sign they have melanoma, according to WebMD.

Eye color change in animals, especially when not due to age, is very serious. Take your pets to the vet if you notice a color change.