Video: Feline Bordetellosis
Feline bordetellosis is a very recent disease. However, its "contribution" to the morbidity and mortality of small kittens, and sometimes adult cats, makes it necessary to carefully study this disease in order to prevent and timely treat it.
The causative agent of feline bordetellosis is a small, aerobic, gram-negative coccobacterium - Bordetella bronchiseptica. It has now been found that the same organism that causes the kennel cough in dogs (infectious tracheobronchitis) causes the same disease in domestic cats. There are different opinions about the nature of this pathogen. According to one of them, this bacterium is a common inhabitant of the larynx, which does not cause disease, and when it is found in a bacterial culture obtained from a smear of the mucous throat, no special treatment is required. According to another point of view, there is a fairly wide carriage of this pathogen, especially among animals who have had respiratory diseases, which can lead to their illness under unfavorable conditions: stress, viral respiratory diseases, mating, childbirth, transportation.
Diagnostics. Feline bordetellosis usually manifests itself in two different forms. The first form affects kittens from a few days to 2–3 months of age, and results in a high mortality rate. Symptoms include anorexia, lethargy, shortness of breath, and unexpected death. From the onset of the disease to the death of a kitten, it takes from 6 hours to several days. The correct diagnosis in these cases is bacterial bronchopneumonia, which is usually confirmed by x-rays. Bacterial cultures from the lung tissue of deceased kittens show the presence of the bacteria Pseudomonas or Pseudomonas along with Bordetella bronchiseptica. It is important to emphasize that most often in these cases, the bacterium is not the primary pathogen. It is assumed that in these cases it is the feline herpes virus (feline rhinotracheitis virus),and also calicivirus (also causing respiratory disease in cats).
Bordetella (Bordetella bronchiseptica)
The virus causes initial damage to the lungs, where bacteria (Pseudomonas and / or Bordetella bronchiseptica) subsequently invade, causing illness and even death. In adult cats, the disease is slightly different, and usually manifests itself in the form of tracheobronchitis. In these cases, it is quite possible for Bordetella bronchiseptica to act as a primary pathogen under certain conditions: stress, nursery overcrowding, poor care, poor nutrition, shipping, poor ventilation and the presence of other respiratory pathogens. All this can lead to the development of an active form of bordetellosis. Symptoms of the disease in adult cats and older kittens are fever, nasal discharge, sneezing, and coughing. As a rule, animals get sick in 10-14 days, but they can remain carriers of the infection for at least 19 weeks.There are cases of transmission of infection from apparently perfectly healthy cats to their kittens. In nature, it is possible to transfer infection from dogs or other animal species to cats.
Treatment.The success of treatment in both cases depends on correct diagnosis. It is especially important to timely and correct treatment of small kittens with pulmonary infection, which must be very prompt and intense. It is recommended to use intramuscular injections of Baytril (enrofloxacin) in the case of bacterial bronchopneumonia of kittens at the rate of 10-20 mg per kilogram of weight. Higher doses can cause critical illness. Treatment should be carried out within 10-14 days. Bordetella bronchiseptica is usually resistant to amoxicillin and sometimes clavamox, while Pseudomonas aeruginosa is resistant to many of the common antibiotics other than Baytril. Since the bacterial disease in these cases is usually secondary to the viral one, it is also recommended to drip human interferon into the nose to stimulate the immune system,suppressed by a viral infection. You can also instill in the eyes and nose a mixture of gentamicin, interferon and one of the ophthalmic salt preparations (eye drops such as vizine, ophtan, etc.).Adult animals are fairly easy to treat. If it is clearly established that the disease is primarily caused by Bordetella bronchiseptica, that is, the bronchi are affected, and not the lungs, then in this case, treatment includes the use of antibiotics, such as tetracycline (at the rate of 10 mg per kilogram of body weight every 8 hours), doxycycline (10 mg per kilogram every 24 hours) or baytril, as well as sulfa drugs for 10-14 days. Amoxicillin and clavamox are usually not effective against Bordetella bronchiseptica. Antimicrobial therapy is not believed to prevent the carrier stage.
Prevention. The prevention of feline bordetellosis depends on the correct vaccination of cats against herpes virus and calicivirus, mandatory quarantine of new cats or cats after the show and proper hygiene of the cattery. It is recommended to use an inactivated (killed) vaccine to vaccinate kittens. Vaccination is carried out at 6, 9 and 12 weeks of age, although it is also possible to use intranasal vaccine for kittens aged 2 to 4 weeks, which drips into the nose and eyes (it must be emphasized that for this purpose the usual vaccine intended for subcutaneous introduction). It should be noted that many animals (up to 50-70% of the total cat population) are latent (hidden) carriers of herpesvirus infection, without showing any signs of the disease until they are subjected to any stress. Overpopulation,shipping and dilution are factors that can intensify viral infection, and with it bacterial forms of infection such as bordetellosis.
In conclusion, it should be noted that the ideal physical conditions for a nursery include large spaces in which animals can move freely, no overcrowding in the nursery, a quarantine facility, good ventilation, including fresh air, and the correct use of disinfectants.
Tatyana Smirnova, Ruaztec Kennel
Articles from Cat Fanciers Almanac (March 1998) and DRBC Newsletter (June 1998) magazines were used