Bordetella spp

From Dog
Electron microscopic view of Bordetella spp

Bordetella spp are a Gram-negative obligate aerobic proteobacteria that are a respiratory pathogen commonly found in the nasal and oropharynx sites in densely-housed dog populations[1].

Although rarely an initiator of respiratory disease in dogs[2], in association with viruses such as canine respiratory coronavirus (CRCoV) and canine parainfluenza virus (CPIV), it plays an important role in the development of canine kennel cough[3].

Species which are pathogenic to dogs include:

  • Bordetella bronchiseptica (bronchitis)
  • Bordetella avium (septicemia, endocarditis)

Transmission occurs by direct contact, or via respiratory aerosol droplets, or fomites. Bacteria initially adhere to ciliated epithelial cells in the nasopharynx[4], and this interaction with epithelial cells is mediated by a series of protein adhesins[5].

Although these organisms normally reside within respiratory epithelial tissue, systemic bacteremias have lead to dissemination, with one dog reported with B. bronchispetica discospondylitis[6] and another with B. avium endocarditis[7].

Clinically affected dogs are often young (<6 months of age), with a history of being kenneled, or exposure to other unvaccinated dogs and present with upper respiratory signs such as rhinitis, tracheitis or bronchitis[8]. In infections with other bacteria such as Streptococcus equi sub zooepidemicus[9] or Pseudomonas spp[10], or with viral involvement, especially distemper virus, colonization of the lung tissue is common and a febrile pneumonia and death can occur[11].

Diagnosis of infection can be confirmed by nasal swabs for bacterial culture and sera for agglutination tests were taken from all the dogs every week for four weeks. The bacteria can be identified by growth on specific agar and by specific PCR.

Prevention is by administration of live attenuated vaccine given as a subcutaneous injection or via intranasal administration[12].

A single dose of monovalent attenuated B. bronchiseptica vaccine provides immunoprotection for up to 1 year[13]. Intranasally immunized puppies exhibited a trend to higher Bordetella bronchiseptica-specific IgM immune response[14], have significantly less clinical signs and shed fewer organisms compared with subcutaneously vaccinated dogs[15].

These organisms are resistant to trimethoprim, chloramphenicol and sulphonamides[16] and sensitive to most broad-spectrum antimicrobials such as amoxycillin/clavulanate and enrofloxacin[17].


  1. Mochizuki M et al (2008) Etiologic study of upper respiratory infections of household dogs. J Vet Med Sci 70(6):563-569
  2. Englund L et al (2003) Seroepidemiological survey of Bordetella bronchiseptica and canine parainfluenza-2 virus in dogs in Sweden. Vet Rec 152(9):251-254
  3. Ellis J et al (2011) Seroepidemiology of respiratory (group 2) canine coronavirus, canine parainfluenza virus, and Bordetella bronchiseptica infections in urban dogs in a humane shelter and in rural dogs in small communities. Can Vet J 52(8):861-868
  4. Anderton TL et al (2004) Ciliostasis is a key early event during colonization of canine tracheal tissue by Bordetella bronchiseptica. Microbiology 150(9):2843-2855
  5. Erles K & Brownlie J (2010) Expression of beta-defensins in the canine respiratory tract and antimicrobial activity against Bordetella bronchiseptica. Vet Immunol Immunopathol 135(1-2):12-19
  6. Cherubini GB et al (2004) MRI findings in a dog with discospondylitis caused by Bordetella species. J Small Anim Pract 45(8):417-420
  7. Ramírez GA et al (2003) Left ventricular outflow tract-right atrial communication (Gerbode type defect) associated with bacterial endocarditis in a dog. Vet Pathol 40(5):579-582
  8. Radhakrishnan A et al(2007) Community-acquired infectious pneumonia in puppies: 65 cases (1993-2002). J Am Vet Med Assoc 230(10):1493-1497
  9. Chalker VJ et al (2003) The association of Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus with canine infectious respiratory disease. Vet Microbiol 95(1-2):149-156
  10. Johnson LR & Fales WH (2001) Clinical and microbiologic findings in dogs with bronchoscopically diagnosed tracheal collapse: 37 cases (1990-1995). J Am Vet Med Assoc 219(9):1247-1250
  11. Decaro N et al (2004) Canine distemper and related diseases: report of a severe outbreak in a kennel. New Microbiol 27(2):177-181
  12. Iemura R et al (2009) Simultaneous analysis of the nasal shedding kinetics of field and vaccine strains of Bordetella bronchiseptica. Vet Rec 165(25):747-751
  13. Jacobs AA et al(2005) Protection of dogs for 13 months against Bordetella bronchiseptica and canine parainfluenza virus with a modified live vaccine. Vet Rec 157(1):19-23
  14. Adogony V et al (2007) Effects of dietary scFOS on immunoglobulins in colostrums and milk of bitches. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl) 91(5-6):169-174
  15. Davis R et al (2007) Comparison of the mucosal immune response in dogs vaccinated with either an intranasal avirulent live culture or a subcutaneous antigen extract vaccine of Bordetella bronchiseptica. Vet Ther 8(1):32-40
  16. Kadlec K et al (2005) Molecular basis of resistance to trimethoprim, chloramphenicol and sulphonamides in Bordetella bronchiseptica. J Antimicrob Chemother 56(3):485-490
  17. Schwarz S et al (2007) Antimicrobial susceptibility of Pasteurella multocida and Bordetella bronchiseptica from dogs and cats as determined in the BfT-GermVet monitoring program 2004-2006. Berl Munch Tierarztl Wochenschr 120(9-10):423-430