Felis ISSN 2398-2950

Bordetella bronchiseptica infection

Synonym(s): Bordetellosis

Contributor(s): Susan Dawson, Severine Tasker, Albert Lloret


  • One of the agents involved in the feline upper respiratory tract syndrome.
  • May be primary and secondary pathogens of the respiratory tract.
  • Most cats are exposed to the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica before adulthood.
Print off the owner factsheet on Bordetella Bordetella to give to your client.


Predisposing factors


  • Coinfections with respiratory viruses, feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus, can occur.
  • Infection may arise independent of other pathogens as B. bronchiseptica is a primary pathogen.


  • Predilection for ciliated epithelium of upper respiratory tract. Cats have higher infection rates than dogs. Chronic infections are easily established by colonization of the ciliated epithelium.


  • Shed in oral and nasal secretions of infected cats.
  • Bacteria attach to ciliated epithelium then are able to induce ciliostasis.
  • Once attached haemaglutinins and exotoxins are produced which can induce ciliostasis.
  • Ciliostasis, local inflammation, and altered phagocytosis predispose to infection with other organisms.
  • Prolonged shedding of B. bronchiseptica can occur, after resolution of clinical signs.
  • Interspecies transmission probably occurs - dogs implicated in some feline cases.


  • Clinical signs often resolved within 10 days.
  • Young kittens with bronchopneumonia can present as a sudden death.


  • Risk factors for infection include rescue shelters, multi-cat households, living in unhygienic conditions and contact with dogs with respiratory disease.
  • Subclinical and carrier infection possible.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Garbal M, Adaszek Ł, Łyp P et al (2016) Occurrence of Bordetella bronchiseptica in domestic cats with upper respiratory tract infections. Pol J Vet Sci 19 (2), 353-358 PubMed.
  • Taha-Abdelaziz K, Bassel L L, Harness M L et al (2016) Cilia-associated bacteria in fatal Bordetella bronchispetica pneumonia of dogs and cats. J Vet Diagn Invest 28 (4), 369-376 PubMed.
  • Lister A, Wu C C, Leutenegger C M (2015) Detection of feline upper resiratory tract disease pathogens using a commercially available real-time PCR test. Vet J 206 (2), 149-153 PubMed.
  • Sykes J E, Blondeau J M (2014) Pradofloxacin: a novel veterinary fluoroquinolone for treatment of bacterial infections in cats. Vet J 201 (2), 207-214 PubMed.
  • Register K B, Sukumar N, Palavecino E L (2012) Bordetella bronchiseptica in a pediatric cystic fibrosis patient: possible transmission from a household cat. Zoonoses Public Health 59 (4), 246-250 PubMed.
  • Redelman-Sidi G, Grommes C, Pananicolau G (2011) Kitten-transmitted Bordetella bronchiseptica infection in a patient receiving temozolamide for glioblastoma. J Neurooncol 102 (2), 335-339 PubMed.
  • Egberink H, Addie D, Belák S et al (2009) Bordetella bronchiseptica infection in cats. ABCD guidelines on prevention and management. J Feline Med Surg 11 (7), 610-614 PubMed.
  • Bannasch M J & Foley J E (2005) Epidemiologic evaluation of multiple respiratory pathogens in cats in animal shelters. J  Fel Med Surg (2), 109-119 PubMed.
  • Helps C R, Lait P, Damhuis A et al (2005) Factors associated with upper respiratory tract disease caused by feline herpesvirus, feline calicivirus, Chlamydophila felis and Bordetella bronchiseptica in cats - experience from 218 European catteries. Vet Rec 156 (21), 669-673 PubMed.
  • Dawson S, Radford A & Gaskell R (2004) Clinical update on feline respiratory pathogens. In Practice 26 (6), 320-323 VetMedResource.
  • Foster S F, Martin P, Allan G S et al (2004) Lower respiratory tract infections in cats: 21 cases (1995-2000). J Fel Med Surg (3), 167-180 PubMed.
  • Berkelman R L (2003) Human illness associated with use of veterinary vaccines. Clin Inf Dis 37 (3), 407-414 VetMedResource.
  • Datz C (2003) Bordetella infections in dogs and cats: treatment and prevention. Compend Contin Educ Pract Vet 25 (12), 902-914 VetMedResource.
  • Williams J, Laris R, Gray A W et al (2002) Studies of the efficacy of a novel intranasal vaccine against feline bordetellosis. Vet Rec 150 (14), 439-442 PubMed.
  • Dawson S, Jones D, McCracken C M et al (2000) Bordetella bronchiseptica infection in cats following contact with infected dogs. Vet Rec 146 (2), 46-48 PubMed.
  • Binns S H, Dawson S, Speakman A J et al (1999) Prevalence and risk factors for feline Bordetella bronchiseptica infection. Vet Rec 144 (21), 575-580 PubMed
  • Speakman A J, Binns S H, Dawson S et al (1997) Antimicrobial susceptibility of Bordetella bronchiseptica isolates from cats and a comparison of the agar dilution and E-test methods. Vet Microbiol 54 (1), 63-72 PubMed.
  • Coutts A J, Dawson S, Binns S H et al (1996) Studies on natural tranmission of Bordetella bronchiseptica in cats. Vet Microbiol 48 (1-2), 19-27 PubMed.
  • Willloughby K, Dawson S, Jones R C et al (1991) Isolation of B. bronciseptica from kittens with pneumonia in a breeding cattery. Vet Rec 129 (18), 407-408 PubMed.