Epidemiology of Bordetella bronchiseptica in cats

Bordetella bronchiseptica is widespread in the feline population but is probably usually carried asymptomatically.

Bordetella bronchiseptica (Bb) infection is most commonly associated with cats in rescue catteries, breeding catteries, research facilities and those living in multicat households. Read more about the risk associated with breeding and boarding catteries

However, infection has also been found in cats living in households with just 1-3 animals. There is evidence that disease can spread between dogs and cats living in the same household. Read more about the transmission of Bb between dogs and cats

In many species Bb is an opportunistic pathogen. The same is probably true in cats. Long-term asymptomatic carriage commonly occurs in cats (Coutts et al 1996). Shedding of Bb can be triggered by a variety of environmental factors.

Stressful conditions are a common cause of development of opportunistic disease.

These include:

  • weaning
  • parturition
  • visiting catteries
  • travelling to cat shows
  • overcrowding in catteries
  • poor hygiene
  • concurrent infection.
Stressful conditions may result in opportunistic disease, especially in young kittens.

Stressful conditions may result in opportunistic disease, especially in young kittens.