|Cat with heterochromia iridum.|
Photo via Laura
Heterochromia occurs when melanin is not distributed equally among both of the irises. Melanin is what gives color pigment to an animal's skin, fur, and their eyes. Many animals have blue eyes when they are babies. As they grow older, melanin will begin to distribute in their irises. This is the time when an animal will show signs of having heterochromia.
Cats With Different Colored Eyes
Most cats with different colored eyes are white although heterochromia could occur in any cat. There are certain cat breeds that are more prone to having different colored eyes than others. Some examples are the Turkish Van and Angora cat breeds.
Since white cats lack melanin because their fur is white, they are more likely to have different colored eyes than other types of cats. In most cases, one eye will be blue and the other will be green. The blue eye is the one that is lacking the melanin.
Dogs With Heterochromia
There are also dogs that have different colored eyes. Breeds like the Australian Shepard, Dalmation, Catahoula Leopard Dog, and Husky are very commonly seen with different colored eyes. I have personally seen many other breeds with heterochromia including Shelties, Boston Terriers, Welsh Corgis, Great Danes, Dachsunds, Pit Bulls, and others.
|Dog with heterochromia.|
Photo via xlibber
Some dogs with different colored eyes may have partial heterochromia. This means that one eye is two different colors. Commonly, half of the eye will be brown while the other half is blue.
Should I Be Concerned if My Pet Has Different Colored Eyes?
Generally speaking, no - there is no reason to be concerned or alarmed as the condition is genetic most of the time. Some people find this look desirable and will choose their pet based on this unique feature. Others may find it weird and think something is wrong with an animal that has different colored eyes. Pets with heterochromia should be able to see just as well as pets with "normal" eyes.
|Photo via Dan DeLuca|
Have you ever seen an animal with different colored eyes? What did you think?