Bordetella bronchiseptica is a bacterial infection in cats that can lead to upper respiratory illness, which can be effectively treated with antibiotics. Additionally, many areas offer an effective vaccination to prevent infection. Our Mount Vernon veterinarian, sheds light on cat bordetella, including its symptoms and preventative measures you can take to safeguard your feline friend's health.
What Is Bordetella?
Bordetella bronchiseptica is a respiratory pathogen that can affect a wide range of species, including dogs, cats, pigs, and rabbits, often resulting in a condition known as "kennel cough." Interestingly, this bacterium is linked to the causative agent of "whooping cough" in humans, Bordetella pertussis, and is thus classified as a rare zoonosis, meaning it can be transmitted from animals to humans. Although human infections are rare, they can occur, highlighting the importance of preventing and controlling the spread of this highly contagious pathogen in animal populations.
Spread Of Bordetella In Cats
Cats infected with B. bronchiseptica can easily spread the bacteria through various means such as saliva, nasal secretions, and droplets that mist out when the kitty sneezes. As a result, direct contact or inhalation poses a high risk of transmission.
While disinfectants can help eradicate the bacteria, it is worth noting that they can linger in the environment for up to 2 weeks. Neglected surroundings, unwashed bedding, contaminated food bowls, and uncleaned grooming equipment are all potential sources of infection. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain meticulous cleanliness to prevent the spread of the bacteria.
Symptoms Of Bordetella In Cats?
Bordetella infections are known to cause a range of symptoms in cats, such as mild sneezing, coughing, and nasal and ocular discharge, often accompanied by a fever. While typically not life-threatening, in rare cases, particularly in young kittens or under intense stress, the infection can become more severe and result in fatality. It's important to note that these symptoms can persist for up to 10 days, and prompt veterinary care should be sought if any concerns arise.
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.
Can Cats With Bordetella Be Treated?
Bordetella infections in cats can usually be treated successfully with antibiotics such as Doxycycline or a fluoroquinolone antibiotic. However, certain bacteria may be resistant to certain antibiotics, making it necessary to conduct sensitivity testing in a laboratory.
While most Bordetella infections are mild and do not require any special precautions, it is important to remember that serious illness is always possible.
Therefore, vaccination is an important aspect of disease prevention. A highly effective vaccine is available, which is administered through drops in the nose. Additional supportive care and hospitalization may be necessary if the infection is severe.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.