What is Bronchiseptica Infection?
Bronchiseptica is a respiratory infection that causes coughing, trouble breathing, and increased mucus production. Antibiotic treatment is usually required to overcome the infection. Alternate names include:
- Feline Bordetellosis
- Feline Upper Respiratory Tract Disease
- Kennel Cough
Bronchiseptica infection is an upper respiratory infection that can cause typical respiratory symptoms in cats. The bacteria that causes the infection is considered zoonotic, which means it can be transmitted from animals to humans. The disease is highly contagious and easily spread between cats and other companion animals. Symptoms are generally not life threatening, but can be if severe or in pets with weaker immune systems. Bronchiseptica is often found as a secondary infection in conjunction with other bacteria.
Symptoms of Bronchiseptica Infection in Cats
Bronchiseptica infection causes respiratory symptoms similar to the common cold or bronchitis in humans. Cats will experience coughing and breathing trouble as well as nasal discharge. Symptoms generally last seven to ten days, but may last longer in severe cases. Bronchiseptica can be life-threatening in serious cases or with the very young or old and animals with weakened immune systems.
- Coughing (wet or dry)
- Crackling sound in the lungs
- Difficulty breathing
- Runny Nose
- Ocular (eye) discharge
- Lack of appetite
- Swollen lymph nodes
Severe Symptoms Include:
- Hacking cough
Causes of Bronchiseptica Infection in Cats
Bronchiseptica infection is caused when Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria results in inflammation in the lungs and airways. The infection is highly contagious and can be spread by dogs and cats. It can even be passed from companion animals to people. It can be spread through various means, including through the air, with physical contact, in saliva, and by contaminated materials. Situations in which numerous animals are in close contact, such as kennels, shelters, and multi-pet homes increase the risk of transmission.
Diagnosis of Bronchiseptica Infection in Cats
Coughing in cats is often linked to Bronchiseptica, so the infection should be suspected when this symptom is present. Your veterinarian will need to know your cat’s medical history, when the coughing first started, and what other symptoms have been observed. Be sure to advise them if your pet has been in close contact with other pets or in a kennel situation that could increase the risk of infection. The veterinarian may run several tests to confirm the diagnosis, including blood counts, biochemistry profiles, and cultures taken by oral or nasal swab.
Treatment of Bronchiseptica Infection in Cats
A range of treatment approaches may be used by your veterinarian to treat your cat’s condition. The treatment may vary based on the severity of the infection. Hospitalization and supportive care could be required if the cat is very ill, responds poorly to treatment, or has other conditions that might result in complications like immunosuppressive disorders. The most common treatments for this infection include:
Antibiotics: Antibacterial drugs are the most common prescription for dealing with respiratory infections. The antibiotics work to reduce the levels of the bacteria in your cat’s system, helping the immune system overcome the infection. A normal course of antibiotics generally takes a full week.
Oxygen Therapy: If the cat’s breathing is especially troubled or in pneumonia cases, breathing treatments may be needed to ensure oxygen levels are kept at safe levels. Treatments using tubing, masks, or oxygen cages may be used. Low blood oxygen levels are one of the most serious complications of respiratory infection.
Analgesics: A type of painkiller that can also be used to treat fever and inflammation, these medications may be provided if associated symptoms require it. Your veterinarian will evaluate your pet and make proper dosing decisions.
Intravenous (IV) Fluids: If your pet is hospitalized as part of their treatment, they may be given IV fluids. This routine practice helps ensure you cat is properly hydrated. This is an important consideration, especially if your pet is experiencing lack of appetite and fever, which are two common symptoms.
Recovery of Bronchiseptica Infection in Cats
Symptoms of Bronchiseptica infection will usually pass within the first week after symptom onset, and a full recovery can be expected during the first two weeks. Most cats will experience a full recovery with proper treatment. Once your cat is well enough to return home, you should carefully monitor them for worsening of symptoms. Eye and nose discharge should be cleaned on a regular basis. You should also monitor your pet’s food and water consumption. Continue the full course of treatments prescribed by the veterinarian to ensure the infection is completely eradicated.
Due to the highly contagious nature of the bacteria, complete cleaning and disinfection of pet areas will be needed to prevent recontamination. Your cat may need to be isolated from other pets in the home until antibiotic treatments are completed and symptoms have passed. If Bronchiseptica becomes a continuous or widespread problem, vaccination may be recommended. Vaccines are available to control the disease and prevent its spread.