ISSN 2398-2942      

Bordetella bronchiseptica


Synonym(s): B bronchiseptica




  • Genus: Bordetella; species: bronchiseptica.


  • Bordetella named after Jules Bordet who, together with Gengou, first isolated the organism causing pertussis. Bronchiseptica: Gk: bronchus - the trachea; septicus - putrefractive, septic; bronchiseptica - with an infected bronchus.

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Clinical Effects



  • Primarily parasite of the ciliated respiratory epithelium of mammals and birds.
  • Found in wild and domestic carnivores, rodents, pigs, rabbits, horses and other herbivores, primates and turkeys.
  • Presence does not necessarily indicate disease; can survive in lakewater and soil.


  • Reproduces asexually.
  • Some conjugation with transfer of plasmids probably occurs.


  • Some evidence of transmission between dogs and cats.
  • By aerosol or direct contact.
  • Most mammalian infections are airborne.
  • Infection may spread indirectly between turkeys in water and litter.

Pathological effects

  • Predeliction for ciliated cells of respiratory epithelium.
  • Adheres to the epithelial cells and produces adenyl cyclase and tracheal cytotoxin which protects the organisms from phagocytosis by host cells and causes ciliary paralysis. Rapid proliferation of the organism and an inflammation follow.
  • Dermonecrotizing toxin is formed, which is responsible for nasal turbinate atrophy in young pigs and may be important in other infections.

Diseases caused

  • Atrophic rhinitis (in conjunction with Pasturella multocida Pasteurella multocida ) and bronchopneumonia in pigs.
  • Canine infectious tracheobronchitis (kennel cough) Acute infectious tracheobronchitis in dogs. This may be primary disease or in association with viruses.
  • Upper respiratory tract disease and bronchopneumonia in cats.
  • Upper or lower respiratory tract infection in rabbits, guinea pigs and rats (may also cause septicemia).
  • Rare human infections. More common in immunocompromised patients.
  • Respiratory disease in horses.

Other Host Effects

  • Commensal in upper respiratory tract.


Control via chemotherapies

  • Atrophic rhinitis is untreatable.
  • Kennel cough responds poorly to antibiotics; most canine isolates sensitive in vitro to tetracyclines Oxytetracycline Carbamate poisoning and fluoroquinolones.


  • Intranasal vaccine available for dogs.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Ellis J A, Krakowka G S, Dayton A D et al (2002) Comparative efficacy of an injectable vaccine and an intranasal vaccine in stimulating Bordetella bronchiseptica-reactive antibody responses in seropositive dogs. JAVMA 220 (1), 43-48 PubMed.
  • Dawson S, Jones D, McCraken C M et al (2000) Bordetella bronchiseptica infection in cats following contact with infected dogs. Vet Rec 146 (2), 46-48 PubMed.
  • Speakman A J, Dawson S, Corkill J E et al (2000) Antibiotic susceptibility of canine Bordetella bronchiseptica isolates. Vet Microbiol 71 (3-4), 193-200 PubMed.
  • Binns S H, Speakman A J, Dawson S et al (1998) The use of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis to examine the epidemiology of Bordetella bronchiseptica isolated from cats and other species. Epidemiol Infect 120 (2), 201-208 PubMed.
  • Toshach K, Jackson M W & Dubielzig R R (1997) Hepatocellular necrosis associated with subcutaneous​ injection of an intranasal Bordetella bronchiseptica-canine parainfluenza vaccine. JAAHA 33 (2), 126-128 PubMed.
  • Bemis D A (1992) Bordetella and Mycoplasma respiratory infections in dogs and cats. Vet Clin N Am Sm Anim Prac 22 (5), 1173-1186 PubMed.
  • Ueland K (1990) Serological, bacteriological and clinical observations on an outbreak of canine infectious tracheobronchitis in Norway. Vet Rec 126 (19), 481-483 PubMed.

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