The widespread vaccination of cats against feline calici virus (FCV) and feline herpes virus (FHV) has failed to eliminate the problem of feline upper respiratory tract disease (URTD).
Bordetella bronchiseptica (Bb) has long been recognized as an important agent in canine kennel cough but only in recent years has its role in the development of URTD of cats been recognised. The clinical signs of Bb infection are very similar to those of respiratory virus infection and there is mounting evidence that infection is widespread. Veterinary scientists please also refer to www.felineBb.info, a peer-reviewed Information Website on Bordetella bronchiseptica infection in cats.
Stress predisposes cats to the development of disease associated with Bb and this is most common in multicat households and catteries. The disease is most severe in kittens (where fatal bronchopneumonia has been reported). URTD raises important welfare issues and has significant financial implications for cattery owners and cat breeders. The development of a Bordetella vaccine for the protection of cats is an important breakthrough in URTD prevention.