Kennel Cough, caused by a Bordetella, is a very contagious bacterial disease that cats can get that causes mild to severe respiratory problems. Kittens and cats that have weak immune systems can get very sick and if not treated will die. The cause of the illness is a Bordetlla bronchiseptica. It is a small aerobic gram-negative microorganism that targets the upper respiratory tract of cats, dogs and even people. When cats have been exposed to Bordetella they do not get as sick as dogs. Some cats can be carriers of Bordetella and they will give the disease to other cats.
Cats become infected with Bordetella when they come into contact with bacteria Boretella bronchiseptica. Cats can become infected with the disease from other cats and dogs that are infected with the bacteria. Bordetella is diagnosed more often in cats living in crowded conditions because Bordetella is a highly infectious disease and will spread rapidly in these conditions.
Bordetella (kennel cough) is very contagious and will cause respiratory problems in cats and dogs. There are cats that can have the disease but will not show any signs that they are sick. They are what you call carriers and they will shed the disease and infect other cats. Some cats may show only mild symptoms while some, especially very young kittens, will develop severe and life threatening symptoms.
Bordetellosis in cats is somewhat difficult to diagnose because the causative bacteria, Bordetella bronchiseptica, may cause clinical signs that mimic those caused by other infectious diseases. A definite diagnosis requires identification of the particular bacterial cause by a veterinarian.
Feline bordeteltosis can be treated with antibiotics. If you have more than one cat you must treat all the cats at the same time to get rid of the disease. You must disinfect everything to kill all the bacteria to keep the disease from reoccurring. Uncomplicated cases of feline bordetellosis are best treated on an outpatient basis, both for the welfare of the affected animal and equally important to prevent cross infection of other hospitalized cats. A number of oral antibiotics are available to treat this disease and cats and kittens usually recover.
To help protect your cats from illness and disease there are certain shots they should receive. It is a good idea to give your cat a rabies shot and in some areas this is required. A kitten should receive a shot called F-R-C-P. This shot will help protect your cat against distemper, herpes and hepatitis and if your cat is an outdoor cat it should be vaccinated for feline leukemia. Remember kittens will need booster shots and you should vaccinate your cat once a year to make sure he is protected. Ask your veterinarian and he will set your cat up on a schedule for his shots. If you want your cat to stay healthy and happy he should get his shots and have regular checkups with his veterinarian.