Bordetella in Young Rabbits and Squirrels


  • Julie DeCubellis DVM St. George's University, School of Veterinary Medicine
  • Karen Shenoy DVM Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota



Bordetella bronchiseptica, rabbit, squirrel, wildlife rehabilitation


Bordetella bronchiseptica is a small gram–negative rod bacterium and a common inhabitant of the respiratory tract of rabbits and rodents. The organism is associated with upper respiratory tract infections including ‘snuffles’ in rabbits. In addition, B. bronchiseptica may be a primary respiratory pathogen in rodents and cats, a cause of tracheobronchitis (kennel cough) in dogs, atrophic rhinitis in pigs, and an uncommon but mild ‘whooping cough’ like syndrome in immunosuppressed humans. The organism has also been cultured in juvenile squirrels presenting to wildlife rehabilitation centers with upper respiratory infections (K. Shenoy and L. Davis, unpublished observations).


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Julie DeCubellis DVM, St. George's University, School of Veterinary Medicine

Julie DeCubellis received a BA in biology from Rhode Island College and an MS in animal nutrition from North Carolina State University. She is currently a veterinary student at St. George’s University and is completing her final year at the University of Minnesota School of Veterinary Medicine.

Karen Shenoy DVM, Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota

Karen Shenoy is a staff veterinarian at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota and a member of the NWRA Veterinary Committee. She also serves as adjunct faculty in the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and in the Veterinary Technology Program at Globe College in Oakdale, Minnesota.


Dugal, F., M. Belanger, and M. Jacques. 1992. Enhanced adherence of Pasteurella multocida to porcine tracheal rings preinfected with Bordetella bronchiseptica. Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research. 5:260–264.

Mendlowitz, L. 2002. University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine Online Guide to Diseases of Laboratory Animals. Available from: <>.

Quesenberry, K. E., and J. W. Carpenter. 2004. Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents–Clinical Medicine and Surgery, 2nd edition. Saunders: St. Louis, MO.

Yuk, M. H., P. Cotter, and J. Miller. 1996. Genetic regulation of airway colonization by Bordetella species. American Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine. 154(4) (Pt 2):S150–4.



How to Cite

DeCubellis, J., & Shenoy, K. (2006). Bordetella in Young Rabbits and Squirrels. Wildlife Rehabilitation Bulletin, 24(2), 33–34.