Dog owners are likely familiar with kennel cough. Cats can also develop a version of the disease known as feline bordetella although it is much less common. The bacteria responsible for this illness is closely related to bacteria that causes the disease in dogs and humans.
The bacteria responsible for bordetella in cats is known as Bordetella bronchiseptica. If the bacteria infects your cat, it will lead to respiratory issues. The risk of becoming infected with it also rises dramatically if your kitty has a viral infection of some sort.
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Cat bordetella is highly contagious, and coughing or sneezing is enough to transmit the bacteria.. Shelters can especially experience problems since there are plenty of felines in close proximity to each other. The disease can easily pass between animals if there are multiple cats in the household. Dogs have also been known to pass the disease to cats in some cases.
Adults with feline bordetella usually don't have any trouble getting over the infection. However, kittens can be devastated by the disease and even die from it if it progresses. Signs of an infection are very similar to other upper respiratory infections such as herpes virus and calicivirus.
Despite the fact that bordetella in cats is often referred to as kennel cough, coughing isn't quite as common with felines as it is with dogs battling the disease. Most cats will experience discharge from the nose and sneezing. Discharge may also come from the eyes. Other possible signs of the condition include depression, loss of appetite, and fever.
Cat bordetella doesn't always lead to noticeable signs. Your feline may simply be a carrier of the disease. Carriers don't display signs, but are capable of passing the disease on to other animals.
As mentioned, the signs of feline bordetella are quite similar to other respiratory infections. Simply taking a look at your cat won't be enough to make a proper diagnosis of this condition. That's why the veterinarian will need to rule those other possibilities out. A swab of the nose will need to be done.
Kittens with the disease will likely need to be provided with supportive care. Antibiotics are the main way that bordetella in felines is treated. Since there are various types of antibiotics, the vet needs to choose which specific one he thinks will be most effective.
Owners should know that there is a vaccination to protect against feline bordetella. It is usually best to get your cat vaccinated against the disease even if he or she is an adult. At the very least, you should discuss your options with your vet.