Etiology: Bordetella bronchiseptica, a bacterial organism
Risk Factors: Exposure to clinically ill animal in boarding and/or grooming facilities, shelters, pet shops, dog shows, public areas, catteries, multicat households, or strays. Pets not vaccinated for Bordetella.
Transmission: Through the air (aerosol)
- DOGS: Dry, hacking/honking coughing fits. (Sounds like a bone caught in the throat). Episodes may appear worse with excitement or exercise. Other less common signs include nasal discharge, gagging, retching, anorexia, depression, and fever. Condition is usually self-limiting and last 7-10 days.
- CATS: Sneezing, serous ocular and/or nasal discharge, coughing, dry or wet rales, fever, lethargy, enlarged mandibular lymph nodes. May see conjunctivitis, bronchopneumonia, and death in severe cases.
Incubation Time: 36 hours to 10 days depending on the strain
Duration of Clinical Signs: 1 to 2 days up to several weeks
Diagnosis: Ideally, run CBC, Chem, UA, Heartworm Test, and Thoracic Rads to screen for other disorders. Definitive diagnosis requires a positive culture obtained from nasal swabs, mouth or pharyngeal swabs, or tracheal washes. A presumptive diagnosis may be made based on history, clinical signs, physical exam, and response to treatment.
- Restrict exercise & avoid excitement in dogs to decrease coughing
- Separate from other animals in household as transmission is highly likely
- Antibiotics, Antitussives, Bronchodilators, and Anti-inflammatories as indicated by clinical signs
- Some patients may benefit from humidification of fluid therapy to help thin and loosen airway secretions
- Routine disinfection of kennels, walls, floors, and bowls
- Washing hands after handling pet or bedding
- Isolate pet from well pets and minimize contact
- Vaccinate 2 weeks before potential exposure
- Vaccinate annually (duration of vaccine is 9 - 12 months)
- Vaccinate every 6 months if pet has high incidence of potential exposure (i.e. dog show, boarding, grooming, etc.)
Source: Compedium, Bordetella Infections In Dogs and Cats: Pathogenesis, Clinical Signs, and Diagnosis; Treatment and Prevention, Vol. 25, No. 12, December 2003, pp. 896-898, 902-912.