Feline Bordetella Infection

Bordetella bronchiseptica is now accepted as an important cause, either primary, or secondary (to respiratory viruses), of upper respiratory infections in cats. It has also been implicated as an infrequent cause of pneumonia. Serious outbreaks have occurred in laboratory cats and in breeding colonies with bronchopneumonia. In such instances crowding, poor ventilation and stresses were considered predisposing factors. The disease is most severe in young cats. Clinical signs include fever, anorexia, coughing, sneezing, nasal and ocular discharge and submandibular lymphadenopathy. Dyspnea and abnormal lung sounds may indicate bronchopneumonic involvement.

Diagnosis -

Nasal and ocular swabs in viral and bacterial transport media. In the dead animal: Portions of conjunctiva, nasal mucosa, trachea and lungs. Isolation and identification of the viruses that cause feline viral rhinotracheitis and feline calicivirus infection. These viruses grow well in cell cultures and produce characteristic cytopathic changes. The virus of FVR can be identified by the fluorescent antibody (FA) staining of smears from nasal and conjunctival scrapings and from frozen sections of lung. Paired serum samples Virus neutralization tests for FCI and FVR. Bacterial culture, isolation and identification from oropharyngeal and nasal swabs; antimicrobial susceptibility tests can also be used to identify Bordetella infections.

Treatment -

Symptomatic and supportive; local and systemic broad spectrum antibiotics to reduce secondary bacterial infection.

Feline Bordetella infection: Local and/or systemic administration of an antibiotics preferably indicated by antimicrobial susceptibility tests.

Control -

A live, attenuated Bordetella bronchiseptica intranasal vaccine is now available. It can be used in kittens as young as eight weeks of age.