Feline Bordetella bronchiseptica aka Bordetellosis in Kittens
Concurrent infection with other feline respiratory agents, such as feline rhinotracheitis virus and feline calicivirus, can also occur. For instance, feline rhinotracheitis, or feline herpes virus infection, is a common cause of upper respiratory disease in cats and the signs of it may include runny eyes / conjunctivitis, runny noses, sneezing, loss of appetite, etc.
The fact that the symptoms of Bordetella bronchiseptica (Bb) don’t really stand out from the symptoms of other common respiratory diseases and infections, and can actually co-exist with them, makes it particularly difficult.
Diagnosis of Bordetella bronchiseptica:
Tracheal wash and culture, oro-pharyngeal swab, swab of nasal discharge
Treatment of Bordetella bronchiseptica:
Antibiotic therapy with tetracycline, doxycycline, or amoxicillin clavulonic acid has been indicated for treatment. Fluid therapy and nutritional support are vital during treatment. The use of a vaporizer may also be suggested.
Prognosis of Bordetella bronchiseptica:
For most cats, B.bronchiseptica is usually not a life-threatening illness — it is as mild as the “common cold” and normally disappears after about ten days. However, in some cats, particularly kittens in the three to eight week range, Bordetella (and other bacterial and viral infections) can develop into bronchopneumonia and be life threatening. (In most cases of pneumonia, there is a bacterial component. Virus infections, such as panleukopenia virus infection, can contribute to the severity of the condition as well in stressing and weakening the immune system.)
Prevention of Bordetella bronchiseptica:
There is supposedly an internasal vaccine available, however it is not given as a routine. Vaccination against Feline Bordetella is not normally indicated except in situations where a cat will have contact with other “strange” cats such as in a cattery or in the case of an outdoor cat. Good hygiene practices and the elimination of possible stressors are especially important in catteries, rescue shelters, and boarding facilities.