Feline Bordetella

What is Bordetella
A species that are Gram-negative bacterial pathogens that colonizes mammalian respiratory tract causing respiratory diseases in humans and animals.
• Bordetella is shed via oral and nasal secretions of infected cats.

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Disease signsA wide range of respiratory signs has been associated with B bronchiseptica infection, from a mild illness with fever, coughing, sneezing, ocular discharge and lymphadenopathy to severe pneumonia with dyspnoea, cyanosis and death.DiagnosisBacterial culture and PCR lack sensitivity. Samples for isolation can be obtained from the oropharynx (swabs) or via transtracheal wash/ bronchoalveolar lavage.
  • Lethargy
  • Inappetence
  • Cough
  • Shallow breathing
  • Hyperpnea
  • Dyspnea
Disease control in specific situations
Control of Bb in cat populations is aimed at minimising the exposure of naïve cats. Stocking densities may need to be reduced and the environment cleaned and disinfected to minimize the risk of transmission. Otherwise, the measures advocated for the control of other common respiratory pathogens such as FCV and FHV in groups of cats will help control infection and disease.
Random source populations with largely unknown vaccination histories, continuous resident turnover, and high risk for infectious disease characterize most shelters. In these, Bb vaccination is encouraged, particularly if there is a history of microbiologically confirmed disease. Breeding catteries
The vaccination schedules used for privately owned cats are appropriate for most breeding catteries. Again, Bb vaccination should only be encouraged where this organism has been confirmed to be associated with disease.
Disease management
Bordetella is susceptible to common disinfectants.
Antibacterial therapy is indicated, even if the signs are mild. Where sensitivity data are unavailable, tetracyclines are recommended. Doxycycline is the antimicrobial of choice. Cats with severe B bronchiseptica infection require supportive therapy and intensive nursing care.Vaccination recommendationsIn some European countries an intranasal modified-live virus vaccine is available. The modified-live product is licensed for use as a single vaccination with annual boosters. Cats should not be routinely vaccinated against B bronchiseptica (non-core), since the infection generally causes only a mild disease.General recommendations on vaccination: only if a history of diseaseIn some European countries an intranasal modified live vaccine is available. Bb vaccines containing viable bacteria should never be administered to kittens less than 4 weeks of age. In addition, they are ineffective in cats on, or due to receive, antibiotics. Cats receiving live vaccines will shed bacteria and must be avoided where an owner is known to be immunocompromised. As in dogs, these vaccines may occasionally induce mild clinical signs in cats.
Primary vaccination course
The ABCD does not recommend routine vaccination against Bb (non-core), since the infection generally causes only mild disease. Vaccination should be limited to cats living in or moving into high-density populations with a history of Bb disease and should be performed according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Booster vaccinations
The modified live vaccine is licensed for use as a single vaccination with annual boosters. Duration of immunity of at least a year has been demonstrated (Williams et al., 2002).Boosters should be continued as long as the cat remains in the high-risk situation.
Bordetella bronchiseptica pneumonia in dogs (A, B, D-F) and a cat (C). A. Aggregates of basophilic bacilli obscure the cilia at the apical surface of bronchial epithelial cells. Hematoxylin and eosin (H&E). B. The same bronchus as for panel A, showing immunolabeling for B. bronchiseptica. C. Clusters of cilia-associated bacteria with necrosis of bronchial epithelium and infiltration of neutrophils. H&E. D. Low numbers of bacilli associated with cilia of the bronchial epithelium. H&E. E. The same bronchus as for panel D, showing immunolabeling for B. bronchiseptica. F. Basophilic granules interpreted to be mucus, at the apical surface of bronchial epithelial cells. H&E. The reported clinical signs included lethargy, inappetence, cough, shallow breathing, hyperpnea, and dyspnea. The duration of clinical signs, when specified, was 2–3 days.