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Kennel Cough Symptoms in Cats
This Article Could Save Your Cat's Life
What Is Kennel Cough?
Kennel cough is a medical condition that occurs primarily in dogs but what many people don't know is, is that kennel cough is occasionally passed onto as cats, as well. The official name for kennel cough in cats is feline bordetellosis.If kennel cough is found in cats, it is a more serious condition than in dogs and should be treated immediately.
This article will focus on kennel cough in cats, only. The information here is different when it comes to dogs. Look at this article from the ASPCA for more information about kennel cough in dogs.
Please note that this article is for informational purposes only, and not intended to replace advice from your personal veterinarian. Please contact your local animal health professional for any questions about your pet.
Kennel Cough is Found in Cats
Many people don't know that kennel cough can be found in cats. It is extremely rare, but it does happen, usually when overcrowding of animals has occurred.
How Cats Get Kennel Cough
As I mentioned earlier, kennel cough is primarily a dog condition and is quite rare in felines in the general population, although found occasionally in animal shelters. A call to my local veterinarian told me that vets in my area (Western Canada) rarely see this condition in cats and they do not offer a vaccine for this condition.
There are three factors that can increase the risk of an outbreak of kennel cough in an animal shelter or kennel. First, overcrowded conditions or poor ventialltion mean the pathogen carries easily through air. Secondly, any overcrowding can lead to increased stress, which makes animals more susceptible. Lastly, any place that has poor hygiene can also increase the risk of the disease.
Kennel cough, or feline bordetellosis, is caused by the Bordetella bronchiseptica pathogen. It is transmitted mainly through airborne particles, which travel through animal sneezing and coughing. It can also be passed on through animal to animal direct touch, human to animal touch, and well as through contaminants. Cats can carry the disease and pass it on to another dog or cat, even if they themselves do not manifest the symptoms.
Look Out For The Cough In Cats
What Are The Symptoms on Kennel Cough In Cats?
The main symptom of kennel cough is its namesake: a soft cough. The pet may also experience loss of appetite, a raw throat and congestion.
I was able to speak with Dr. Erika Anseeuw, the Director of Animal Health Services at the Winnipeg Humane Society. Dr. Anseeuw is a specialist in infectious diseases and has extensive experience in this area.
Dr. Anseeuw informed me that symptoms of kennel cough are quite similar to those of other respiratory conditions but the tell-tale clue that it is likely feline bordetella, and not another respiratory illness, is the presence of a cough.
If your cat is experiencing cold-like symptoms, without the cough, the main cause is most likely not feline bordetellosis, but rather other upper respiratory conditions more commonly found in cats. A diagnosis from your veterinarian will be confirm one way or the other. The cough is a symptom that makes it more likely it is kennel cough.
Dr. Anseeuw emphasized that if there is no cough, it is acceptable to wait and see, but with the cough, it is imperative to get treatment because the condition can lead to death, even in healthy adult cats.
Can Humans Catch It?
Can humans catch feline bordetellosis? Most sources say no, but a few say it may be a slight risk for people with an extremely compromised immune system or for the very young.
See The Vet!
Prevention and Treatments for Kennel Cough in Cats
Dr. Erika Anseeuw also told me that vaccines for kennel cough for cats are not very effective. They have been tried at her shelter but don't usually work.
As mentioned, she recommended that if a cat appears to have kennel cough symptoms, that the cat be taken to the vet immediately, where there is an antibiotic that will attack the bacteria.
As well, it is recommended that any animals with the condition should be isolated from other animals because it is highly contagious. The cat should also be given comfort and bed rest and allowed to wait it out until healing occurs. Make sure the cat is still eating by offering tasty wet cat food.
Prevention of kennel cough can be found in practicing good hygiene, avoiding overcrowding and ensuring animals do not experience undue stress.
- Bordetella (Kennel Cough) | Bordetella in Cats | Feline Bordetella Information
Feline bordetella can be successfully treated using antibiotic therapies. Treatment protocol in areas that house multiple cats includes treating all cats for the disease and using proper disinfecting measures.
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