Bordetella Vaccine for Cats - Dosage, Administration & Side Effects

Bordetella Vaccine for Cats - Dosage, Administration & Side Effects

Author WCF Staff


There are lots of different diseases that can potentially harm our cats. One of those potential health issues is Bordetella bronchiseptica infection. This is primarily an issue with kittens and cats that spend a lot of time among other cats. If you are worried about your cat or kitten, you should learn more about the Bordetella infection and Bordetella vaccine. You should also tell your concerns to your vet and ask them for advice and guidance. In the meantime, here is the most crucial information about the Bordetella vaccine.

What is Bordetella bronchiseptica infection?

Before we go into details about the Bordetella vaccine, we need to define what Bordetella bronchiseptica infection is. Bordetella is a tiny, gram-negative bacteria commonly found in cats and dogs. This bacteria will infect the respiratory system and cause all sorts of respiratory issues.

How dangerous is Bordetella in cats?

There are a lot of articles and online sources dedicated to this bacteria, so it is pretty clear that it should not be taken lightly. As we already said, this bacteria will affect the cat’s respiratory system. Some of the issues it might cause are;

  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Ocular discharge
  • Sneezing
  • Lymphadenopathy

cat sitting

These can be considered mild symptoms of Bordetella infection, and kittens are especially at risk. Some of the more severe symptoms and issues Bordetella can cause are;

  • Pneumonia with dyspnoea
  • Cyanosis
  • Death

As you can see, this bacteria can be very dangerous, especially for kittens under 10 weeks. If you are worried your kitten might have contracted this bacteria, call your vet immediately and tell them what you’re worried about.

Can Bordetella be prevented?

The good news is that Bordetella can be prevented. The prevention method is pretty clear - the Bordetella vaccine. Another piece of good news is that Bordetella infections are pretty rare in adult cats, so the vaccination is rarely required or advised by vets. However, kittens are at risk, especially if they spend a lot of their time in catteries with many other kittens and cats.

VET TIP: Bordetella bronchiseptica is very infectious. That means that it can spread very fast. If your kitten spends a lot of time with other kittens, it would be wise to get the vaccine.

Does my cat need Bordetella vaccine?

Whether a cat needs a Bordetella vaccine will ultimately be decided by your vet. The vet will consider the cat’s age, risk factors, and lifestyle. For example, adult indoor cats that rarely come into contact with other cats rarely have to take the vaccine. The chances of them contracting the bacteria are small. However, if you have a small kitten under 16 weeks of age and the kitten spends time among other kittens, your vet will most likely advise you to vaccinate your kitten. It is the best way to prevent Bordetella infection.

siamese cat in shelter

How is the vaccine given?

The administration of the Bordetella vaccine is not what you might expect. It is not a “traditional” vaccine. Instead, the vaccine dosage is sprayed directly in the kitten’s nose. This type of prevention is called the intranasal vaccine. A small amount of modified live bacteria will enter the kitten’s bloodstream, and the kitten’s immune system will learn how to react to exposure.

What is the dosage?

The vaccine dosage will be determined by your vet. However, according to Merck Animal Health and their vaccine guidelines, the usual dosage is 0,2 mL administered to one nostril. The kitten should be protected as early as 72 hours after the administration. That makes the Bordetella vaccine for cats very effective.

Are there any side effects to the Bordetella vaccine?

Unfortunately, there are no drugs that are 100% safe for cats or any other pet or human. The same goes for the Bordetella vaccine for cats. The kitten or cat may develop some side effects. However, they are pretty rare, making the Bordetella vaccine very safe. The most common side effect of this vaccine is sneezing.

That is something most cat owners are okay with. Kittens can start sneezing for a couple of days, and after some time, this side effect should go away. If you notice your kitten is acting strangely after a Bordetella vaccine, you should call your vet and make sure they are aware of the situation.

In conclusion

Bordetella bronchiseptica is a nasty little bacteria that causes respiratory issues. If kittens contract it, it can cause severe health issues like pneumonia and death. Luckily, a Bordetella vaccine is available. It is recommended to cats and kittens that spend time around other cats, for example, in shelters. The vaccine is considered safe and effective and is given by squirting a dosage in the kitten’s nose.

World Cat Finder Team

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