Disease overview

Bordetella (also referred to as tracheobronchitis, canine cough or kennel cough [in dogs], and feline bordetellosis [in cats]) is a highly contagious respiratory disease in cats and dogs caused by the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica. It causes inflammation of the trachea and bronchi.


Bordetella spreads through direct contact (licking, nuzzling), through the air (coughing or sneezing), or via contaminated fomites. Transmission can occur between dogs and cats.

Clinical signs

Dry, hacking cough (dogs)
Watery nasal discharge
Pneumonia, inappetence, fever, and lethargy in severe cases

Risk factors

Pets that come from shelters, rescue centers, breeding kennels, or pet stores
Boarding at a kennel
Pets that participate in events/competitions
Multiple pet homes