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Feline Bordetellosis

Feline Bordetellosis is a highly contagious disease that causes Upper Respiratory Tract Disease (URTD) in cats.

Disease Overview

Feline bordetellosis (Bb) is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica. It causes inflammation of the trachea and bronchi.

The clinical signs of Bb infection are very similar to those of viral upper respiratory tract disease and there is mounting evidence that infection is widespread.

FELINE BORDETELLOSIS FAST FACTS

  • Easily spread through direct or indirect contact.
  • Transmission can occur between dogs and cats.33
  • The disease is most severe in kittens (where fatal bronchopneumonia has been reported).
  • Feline bordetellosis is more common than previously thought, with reported seroprevalence rates ranging from 24% to 79% and isolation rates of up to 47%.68

TRANSMISSION20

  • Bordetella spreads mostly through direct contact (licking, nuzzling)
  • It can also be spread through the air (coughing or sneezing)
  • In a heavily contaminated environment survival may be long enough for indirect transmission to occur.

CLINICAL SIGNS

  • Retching
  • Sneezing
  • Watery nasal discharge
  • Coughing
  • Pneumonia, inappetence, fever, and lethargy in severe cases

CATS AT RISK

  • Pets that come from shelters, rescue centers, breeding kennels, or pet stores
  • Boarding at a kennel
  • Pets that participate in events/competitions
  • Multiple pet homes
  • Stress factors can contribute to predisposition

MORBIDITY THREATS

In most cats the disease is usually mild and signs normally disappear after about 10 days.

The release of toxins following colonisation is responsible for local and systemic inflammatory damage for the first 3-5 days after infection.

In some cats, particularly younger animals, it can develop into bronchopneumonia and be life-threatening.

SPREADING DISEASE

Some cats may become long-term carriers and recovered cats have been shown to shed Bb for at least 19 weeks after initial exposure.

DIAGNOSIS

The presence of Bb can be confirmed by either isolation and culture or PCR on oropharyngeal or nasal swabs.

Merck Animal Health Vaccines

NOBIVAC® FELINE-Bb

The only Bordetella vaccine available for cats.

Professional Resources and Educational Materials

Keep your clinic and staff informed and aware of diseases and outbreaks.

Feline Leukemia Virus

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Educate your clients about FeLV with this easy to share brochure.

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Feline Sarcomas – What Do We Really Know

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Feline Sarcomas – What Do We Really Know

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Feline Vaccination Guide

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A guide to help your pet parents understand common canine diseases and the importance of customizing vaccination for their pet’s unique lifestyle.

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References:

20. Ford R. Canine infectious tracheobronchitis. In: Greene CE, ed. Infectious Diseases of the Dog and Cat. 3rd ed. St. Louis, MO: Saunders/Elsevier; 2006:55. 

33. Gaskell R, Dawson S, Radford A. Feline respiratory disease. In: Greene CE, ed. Infectious Diseases of the Dog and Cat. 3rd ed. St. Louis, MO: Saunders/Elsevier; 2006:147. 

68. Scherk MA, Ford RB, Gaskell RM, et al. 2013 AAFP Feline Vaccination Advisory Panel report. J Feline Med Surg. 2013;15(9):785-808.

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