Bordetella bronchiseptica is a bacterium that can lead to upper respiratory illness in cats. Today, our Hopkinsville vets discuss bordetella in cats including its symptoms and treatment options.
Bordetella in Cats
Bordetella bronchiseptica causes respiratory illness in a variety of species. It is linked to Bordetella pertussis, which causes "whooping cough" in humans, and is categorized as a rare zoonosis (can transmit between animals and humans). It is a disease-causing agent in cats, dogs (one of the major causes of 'kennel cough'), pigs, and rabbits, and can occasionally cause sickness in humans.
How Bordetella In Cats Spreads
Cats infected with B. bronchiseptica shed germs through saliva, nasal secretion, and droplets that mist out when a kitty sneezes. This makes direct touch or inhalation an efficient method of transmission.
Although the bacteria are vulnerable to disinfectants, they are likely to persist in the environment for 1-2 weeks. The surroundings, bedding, food bowls, grooming equipment, and so on may all be sources of illness if not maintained and meticulously cleaned.
Symptoms of Bordetella in Cats
Bordetella infections in cats cause mild sneezing, coughing, nasal and ocular discharge, and fever. Symptoms typically last between 7 – 10 days. In rare situations (particularly in young kittens), the infection may be more serious and become fatal.
Diagnosing Bordetella in Cats
The bacterium is detected in a laboratory using sample swabs collected from the pharynx. Bacterial culture (using a particular culture medium) or PCR (polymerase chain reaction - a molecular technique for detecting the bacterium's genetic material) can also be used to identify the bacterium.
Treating Bordetella in Cats
These infections are often successfully treated with antibacterial medicines like Doxycycline (or maybe a fluoroquinolone antibiotic). However, because certain bacteria are resistant to some antibiotics, it is often preferable to do sensitivity testing in a laboratory. Bear in mind, though, that an extremely severe infection may require additional supportive care and hospitalization.
Most Bordetella infections are considered mild, and no special precautions are required for most cats since the risk of infection and serious illness is minimal.
However, it is never a guarantee that there will be minimal risk. A good and effective vaccine is available (vaccination is administered by drops in the nose), and this is an important aspect of disease prevention.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.