The hidden menace

Until recently little was known about Bb infection of cats - as a result vets have not been looking for it. For this reason the 'menace' of Bordetella bronchiseptica (Bb) infection has often gone undetected.

Not only does Bb infection cause 'cat flu' in adult cats but can also lead to fatal pneumonia in kittens.

The signs of Bb infection in adult cats are often similar to disease caused by the viruses commonly associated with signs of 'cat flu'. These signs include sneezing, snuffling, nasal discharge, and sore eyes. In addition to these signs coughing is sometimes reported in cats with Bb infection.

One of the problems with Bb infection is that cats that have been exposed to infection and have apparently recovered may still be carrying the bug without showing any further signs of disease. It is therefore possible for them to spread disease to healthy cats with whom they have close contact. Also, if these cats become stressed their immune system may be weakened and they may develop signs of the disease again.

Many cats, no matter how adorable, carry Bb undetected.

Many cats, no matter how adorable, carry Bb undetected.