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Fall 1999 Newsletter

Bordetella Bronchiseptica in Cats
Canine Babesiosis
Dictyocaulosis in Dairy Cattle
Echephalo- myacarditis in Pigs
Gastric Dilation Volvulus in Dogs
Practitioner Sabbatical
Neospora Canium
New Tests
Staff News
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Bordetella Bronchiseptica in Cats

            Until recently, Bordetellabronchiseptica was considered an uncommon cause of respiratory disease in cats, and then only as a secondary agent.  Today, it appears to be a primary respiratory pathogen in cats.  Challenges to specific-pathogen-free kittens have produced clinical signs; however, prevalence of the disease and its pathogenesis in natural infections is not known. 

            Several studies have created data that suggest exposure to B. bronchiseptica is common.  In selecting cats suitable for their study, Jacobs et al. (1993) had a difficult time finding cats that were seronegative for the organism.  A second study showed the possibility of carrier cats with the initiation of shedding of the organism after a stressful event; shedding began after parturition.  In this study, the kittens of the queens did not develop clinical disease and did not seroconvert.  The possibility however exists that if the kittens become infected with another respiratory pathogen, such as feline calicivirus or feline herpesvirus, they could also be exposed to Bordetella, which could then opportunistically invade and possibly increase the severity of respiratory disease in the kitten. 

            The clinical signs seen with primary Bordetellainfections include fever, listlessness, sneezing, ocular and nasal discharges, submandibularlymphadenopathy, increased lung sounds, and coughing.  Unfortunately, these signs are seen with many respiratory pathogens.  Bordetellabronchiseptica can also be associated with other respiratory agents, such as feline rhinotracheitis virus and feline calicivirus.  To diagnose B. bronchiseptica, oropharyngeal and/or nasal swabs are needed for bacterial culture.  Transtracheal washes have also been used.  Isolation of the organism is commonly successful if the cat is showing clinical signs.  Carrier cats, on the other hand, are more difficult to diagnose, because the organism is shed only intermittently. 

            So where is Bordetellosis being seen?  There have been reports of outbreaks in catteries, shelters and multi-cat households.  Many other respiratory diseases thrive in these environments as well, so it is not surprising that this is where B. bronchiseptica is also being found.  A focus has been made on the prevention of Bordetellosis.  Recently an intranasal vaccine for cats has been developed and licensed.  However, there is still much research to be done to better understand this disease, its etiology and prevalence.

-by Cathy Berquist, Class of 2000

-edited by LavunAnothayanontha, DVM


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