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You’ve heard a lot about Kennel cough, but not Bordetella Bronchiseptica? It’s not as confusing as the big words suggest. To avoid any confusion, let’s clear things up and dig into just what Bordetella Bronchiseptica is, how it spreads, who is at risk, and more.

What is Bordetella Bronchiseptica?

Bordetella Bronchiseptica is a bacteria causing inflammation and irritation of the upper airways in many animals, including dogs, cats, and even humans.

Bordetella Bronchiseptica is most commonly associated with the ever-dreaded “kennel cough”, also known as Canine Tracheobronchitis.

Bordetella Bronchiseptica is not only a well-known risk for dogs but also can cause “Feline Bordetellosis” or kennel cough for cats.

In sporadic cases, immunocompromised humans can contract the Bordetella Bronchiseptica bacteria from their infected pets.

Now don’t have a meltdown just yet. Kennel cough and Bordetella Bronchiseptica are hardly ever as scary as they sound. Let’s dive in for a deeper understanding of this condition and the potential trouble it can cause.

How Does Bordetella Bronchiseptica Spread?

How Does Bordetella Bronchiseptica Spread?
The Bordetella Bronchiseptica bacteria is transmitted by way of airborne droplets or aerosol, meaning that it is spread via particles in the air from infected mammals through:

  1. Direct contact with an infected animal
  2. Airborne droplets
  3. Sharing contaminated items

Direct contact with an infected animal

Bordetella Bronchiseptica is transmitted by aerosol via sneezes, coughs, and cuddles. It’s no wonder why direct contact is the most prominent and most likely way to contract the bacteria.

Airborne droplets

Not to be a broken record, but Bordetella can spread quickly through the air. The air is everywhere and impossible to avoid hence why Kennel cough continues to close reputable canine boarding facilities despite the most pristine sanitation conditions.

If you happen to experience a breakout of kennel cough, think twice before pointing blame. A break out of kennel cough at a doggy daycare is as common as a cold and flu break out in a kindergarten class. It’s going to happen, and it’s (usually) no one’s fault.

Sharing contaminated items

If we were only speaking of Bordetella Bronchiseptica in dogs, we might advise avoiding the sharing of food and water bowls between animals. However, if you live with an immunocompromised person or pet, please take extra care and safety precautions.

Who Is At Risk For Bordetella Bronchiseptica?

Bordetella Bronchiseptica can cause upper respiratory distress in all sorts of animals. From pigs and poultry to rabbits and rats, Bordetella Bronchiseptica is unbiased in choosing its hosts.

For now, we are going to delve into the effects of Bordetella Bronchiseptica in dogs, cats, and humans.

Bordetella Bronchiseptica in dogs

Symptoms of Bordetella Bronchiseptica in dogs

  • A persistent, honking cough
  • Sneezing
  • Snorting
  • Discharge of the eyes
  • Nasal secretions
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Trachea sensitivity
  • Fever

Bordetella Bronchiseptica Treatment in Dogs

Animals require the same things that humans do to repair and recover from a respiratory infection.

  1. Rest
  2. Hydration
  3. Nutrition and healthy eating
  4. Isolation

Kennl cough remedies and medical care may be necessary if your dog has kennel cough and does not seem to be improving within a couple of days.

  1. Kennel Cough Antibiotics 
  2. Cough Suppressants
  3. Anti-inflammatory drugs
  4. Pain Relievers

If you have an immunocompromised dog like a puppy or a senior, things could get worse before they get better. Luckily there are options to get your dog on the healing track. Unfortunately, these options may cause your pup to be away from home for a day or two.

  1. Hospitalization
  2. Intravenous fluids
  3.  Bronchodilators
  4. Oxygen therapy

Is There A Vaccine For Bordetella Bronchiseptica In Dogs?

Vaccine For Bordetella Bronchiseptica In Dogs
There sure is a vaccine for Bordetella Bronchiseptica in dogs. Likely, your vet has prompted you to consider the “kennel cough” vaccine along with your pet’s annual boosters.

Canine Parainfluenza Bordetella Bronchiseptica Vaccine

The canine parainfluenza/bordetella bronchiseptica vaccine is a bivalent one. The bivalent vaccine offers protection from the Bordetella Bronchiseptica bacteria that causes kennel cough and one of its most commonly accompanying viruses, parainfluenza.

The Parainfluenza Bordetella vaccine is administered by your veterinarian intranasally.

Symptoms and Treatment of Bordetella Bronchiseptica 

SpeciesSymptomsIs there a vaccine?Treatment
HumansPersistent cough

Sore throat

Difficulty swallowing

Shortness of breath



NoCough suppressants

Cough medicine

Fever-reducers like ibuprofen

Green tea with honey


Use of a humidifier

A hot bath or shower

In severe cases, hospitalisation may be necessary

DogsA persistent, honking cough



Discharge of the eyes

Nasal secretions

Difficulty breathing

Loss of appetite


Trachea sensitivity




Nutrition and healthy eating



Cough Suppressants

Anti-inflammatory drugs

Pain Relievers

In severe cases:


Intravenous fluids


Oxygen therapy

CatsPersistent cough

Watery, cloudy eyes

Nasal secretions




Loss of appetite



Healthy nutrition


Cough suppressants


Bordetella Bronchiseptica In Cats

Bordetella Bronchiseptica In Cats
Bordetella bronchiseptica is the most common bacteria for upper respiratory infections in cats, while the viruses cause 90% of upper respiratory infections.

  • Feline herpesvirus
  • Feline calicivirus

Just like humans and dogs, our cats can get Kennel Cough. Our feline friends are more likely to get Bordetella if they already have an underlying virus or a compromised immune system due to age or other viral infections.

Cats might act tough, but they can be more sensitive to household irritants than your dog.

Irritants include but are not limited to:

  • Cigarette smoke
  • Perfume
  • Dust & cat litter
  • Cleaning products
  • Pollen
  • Household sprays
  • Mould

To narrow the possible culprits of your cat’s cough, be sure to limit or eliminate the above irritants in your home.

Symptoms of Bordetella Bronchiseptica in cats

The number one symptom in all animals affected by Bordetella Bronchiseptica as well as cats is a hacking, unproductive and persistent cough.

The most common symptoms of Bordetella Bronchiseptica in cats are:

  • Persistent cough
  • Watery, cloudy eyes
  • Nasal secretions
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite

Bordetella Bronchiseptica Treatment For Cats

Cats can usually recover from a bout of Bordetella Bronchiseptica within one to two weeks of the onset of kennel cough.

The vet can offer some things to soothe a sore throat or quiet a cough, but there are a lot of things you can do to aid in your pet’s recovery at home, including eliminating the irritants mentioned earlier in this section.

What Are The Treatment Options For Cat Kennel Cough?

  1. Rest
  2. Hydration
  3. Healthy nutrition
  4. Isolation
  5. Cough suppressants
  6. Antibiotics

Bordetella Bronchiseptica Vaccine for Cats

Is there a vaccine for Bordetella Bronchiseptica in cats? Sure thing!

Cats are less likely to need the bordetella vaccine unless they are entering a shelter or frequently boarded. 

Though the vaccine isn’t always offered as promptly to cats as it may be for their canine counterpart, there is a vaccine for cats offering protection against the Bordetella Bronchiseptica bacteria.

Bordetella Bronchiseptica In Humans

Bordetella Bronchiseptica In Humans
Let’s start by reiterating that the cases of Bordetella Bronchiseptica transmission to a human are few and far between. The cases where the transmission of Bordetella Bronchiseptica was apparent were those of the severely immunocompromised.

Which humans are most at risk for contracting Bordetella Bronchiseptica?

Humans who can potentially catch Bordetella Bronchiseptica are those living with:

Those with underdeveloped immune systems can also be at higher risk than the average person. Those individuals include:

  • Babies and young children
  • Pregnant women

Symptoms of Bordetella Bronchiseptica in humans

  1. Persistent cough
  2. Sore throat
  3. Difficulty swallowing
  4. Shortness of breath
  5. Fever
  6. Fatigue

Again, it is not a common occurrence for a human to contract Bordetella Bronchiseptica, but in those few unfortunate cases, they may have acquired the bacteria from:

  • a dog in their home
  • an infected human
  • other animals that catch and carry kennel coughs like cats, horses, pigs, guinea pigs, and rabbits.

Bordetella Pertussis or Bordetella Bronchiseptica?

Bordetella Pertussis or Bordetella Bronchiseptica?
You may have heard of Bordetella Pertussis, a super contagious bacteria causing upper respiratory inflammation and irritation in humans, particularly babies and children with underdeveloped immune systems.

Does this sound familiar? Bordetella Bronchiseptica and Bordetella pertussis sound like twins, right? Well, not really. Though the bacteria are closely related, pertussis is only out for human hosts, while Bronchiseptica is on the prowl for our furry friends.

Sometimes, weird and unfortunate things happen, and someone outside of the species is affected, but not often.

Bordetella Bronchiseptica Vs. Bordetella Pertussis

FAQsBordetella BronchisepticaBordetella Pertussis
Who does it affect?Primarily in Dogs (sometimes cats, rabbits, pigs, and poultry)Occurs in humans, particularly in babies.
How does it manifest?Persistent, “honking” coughPersistent, “whooping” cough
How does it spread?Direct contact with an infected animal

Airborne droplets

Sharing contaminated water and food bowls

Direct contact with infected human i.s.human to human contact

Airborne droplets via dog coughing and sneezing

Sharing of space, furniture, utensils, anything

Is there a vaccine for humans?No, the bacteria may clear up on its own or with the help of antibiotics unless severely immunocompromised.Yes. DTaP (Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) vaccine for children from 2 months to 6 years.

Bordetella Bronchiseptica Treatment For Humans

Kennel cough in humans is so rare that there aren’t that many available treatments. There are fewer treatments for Kennel cough in humans than in animals.

A human that acquires Bordetella Bronchiseptica may only require a day or two of rest and recovery and a couple of over-the-counter “cure-alls” or home remedies like:

  • Cough suppressants
  • Cough medicine
  • Fever-reducers like ibuprofen
  • Green tea with honey
  • Garlic
  • Use of a humidifier
  • A hot bath or shower

However, if the human is exceptionally immunocompromised, they may require serious medical attention, and hospitalization may be necessary for a full recovery.

Is there a vaccine for Bordetella Bronchiseptica in humans?

There is no vaccine for Bordetella Bronchiseptica in humans. The bacteria is so infrequently found in humans that creating a vaccine is not yet deemed necessary.

Of course, Bordetella bronchiseptica vaccines for dogs and cats are available but are not used on humans. We know you’re smarter than to take your pet’s vaccine, but these things aren’t always purposeful.

Adverse side effects have been reported in cases where humans have accidentally inhaled the intranasal Bordetella vaccine. 


Bordetella Bronchiseptica is one of the most common causes of upper respiratory infections in animals.

From domesticated animals like our slobbery Saint Bernard or our snooty Persian cat; to farm animals like pigs, chicken, and turkey and some in between, like bunny rabbits, all can potentially be harmed by the annoying and persistent Bordetella Bronchiseptica bacteria.