Bordetella bronchiseptica (Bb) causes respiratory disease in many species including dogs, pigs and rabbits. It has now been extensively demonstrated that Bb is a primary respiratory
pathogen in cats. Veterinarians are only now starting to look for the bacterium in cases of
feline upper respiratory tract disease (URTD).
The signs of Bordetella bronchiseptica (Bb) infection are very similar to those of FHV and FCV and include:
coughing (in some cases)
It is impossible to distinguish Bb infection from infection with FHV or FCV by
clinical signs alone. As with FCV and FHV most cases of Bb normally resolve
after about ten days with antibiotic therapy. In some cats, particularly young kittens, the
infection can rapidly progress to a life-threatening bronchopneumonia.
Bordetella bronchiseptica infection can be diagnosed from oro-pharyngeal swabs. Swab samples should be transported in charcoal transport medium and sent to a diagnostic laboratory where they can be plated on to a selective medium such as Bordet-Gengou. However, chronic carrier cats often shed relatively few organisms and may require repeated oropharyngeal sampling.
Bordetella bronchiseptica (Bb) infection can be treated with tetracycline (10mg/kg PO q8h) or doxycycline (10mg/kg PO q24h). Field strains appear to be less susceptible to amoxicillin/ clavulonic acid.
Resistance to trimethoprim and ampicillin is widespread. There have also been reports of the emergence of tetracycline-resistant plasmids in Bb isolated from cats.