Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Bordetella bronchiseptica

Synonym(s): B. bronchiseptica

Contributor(s): Sarah Binns, Richard Walker




  • Gram-negative aerobic rods.
  • Family:Alcaligenaceae.
  • Closely related to genusAlcaligenes.
  • Genus:Bordetella.
  • Species:bronchiseptica.


  • Bordet- after Jules Bordet who first isolatedBordetella pertussiswith Gengou.
  • Gk:brogkos- windpipe.
  • Gk:septikos, L:septicus- make rotten.

Active Forms

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Clinical Effects



  • Upper respiratory tract epithelium in many species.
  • May be commensal.
  • Can survive in freshwater lakes and soil.


  • Asexual reproduction by binary fission.
  • Some plasmid transfer by conjugation.


  • Aerosol infection is most common.

Pathological effects

  • Serum antibody can be detected in infected animals, but is probably not protective.
  • Local (IgA) antibody may have a protective role.
  • Probably an opportunistic pathogen, eg after antimicrobial therapy has eliminated competitors.
  • Adheres to and proliferates on ciliated respiratory epithelium.
  • Virulence factors (adenylate cyclase, dermonecrotic toxin, proteases, hemolysin, hemagglutinins and tracheal cytotoxin) protect the organism from phagocytosis, cause ciliostasis and induce inflammation.
  • Associated with:
    • Porcine atrophic rhinitis and bronchopneumonia.
    • Canine infectious tracheobronchitis (kennel cough).
    • Respiratory tract infection in rabbits, guinea pigs and rats.
    • Various infections in human beings, particularly if immunocompromised.
    • Respiratory disease in cats.
    • Respiratory disease, and possibly infertility, in horses.

Other Host Effects

  • May be a commensal in the upper respiratory tract.


Control via animal

  • Antibiotic therapy has been attempted for respiratory tract infections in dogs and cats.
  • Intranasal vaccines are available for dogs.

Control via chemotherapies


  • An intra-nasal vaccine is available for dogs.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references for PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Garcia-Cantu M C, Hartmann F A, Brown C M & Darien B J (2000) Bordetella bronchiseptica and equine respiratory infections - a review of 30 cases. Equine Vet Educ 12 (1), 45-50 WileyOnline.
  • Hoffman A M, Viel L, Prescott J F, Rosendal S & Thorsen J (1993) Association of microbiologic flora with clinical, endoscopic, and pulmonary cytologic findings in foals with distal respiratory tract infection. Am J Vet Res 54 (10), 1615-1622 PubMed.
  • Bayly W M, Reed S M, Foreman J H, Traub J L & McMurphy R M (1982) Equine bronchopneumonia due to Bordetella bronchiseptica. Equine Practice (7), 25-32 VetMedResource.