Pet Symptom Checker

Kitten kennel cough

Medical name: Bordetellosis

Emergency Warnings



  • Stressful breathing
  • Wet cough
  • Feverish
  • Lethargy
  • Runny nose
  • Distressed breathing
  • Rumbling stomach noise


Even though “bordetellosis” sounds like a dog disease from boarding kennels, it is not the same as kennel cough and this respiratory infection is strictly for cats. Coughing is involved, however, as well as nasal discharge, fever, lethargy, trouble breathing, and crackling or wheezing breath sounds. The infectious agent, spread from cat to cat, is the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica. Severe cases can be fatal to kittens, and pneumonia from bordetellosis can kill entire an litter of kittens. Older cats might recover on their own, or might require fluid therapy, antibiotics and lots of bed rest.

Zootoo does not provide veterinary medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding your pet’s medical condition.
If you think your pet may be experiencing a medical emergency, call your veterinarian or an emergency animal care facility immediately.

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