AVA Logo.jpg v2A group of veterinary scientists have launched a research project to try and bring canine parvovirus under control, a devastating disease that is currently hurting and killing puppies across Australia.

Commonly known as parvo, the disease is not new to Australia. Outbreaks continue to occur with the latest recorded in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia.

Dr Mark Kelman, the scientist behind the project, said that previous research showed that over a year, one pet is infected with the disease at least every six hours, however, the actual number of cases is likely to be significantly higher.

“Parvo kills approximately half the dogs it infects, and it’s mostly unvaccinated puppies that succumb to the disease. Those pups that do survive face a tough battle before they fully recover".

“The research project, the first of its kind in the world, is seeking to accurately determine the number of cases and where they occur. The second stage of the project will involve implementing prevention strategies at a local level in high risk areas with a view to rolling out these strategies nationally,” he said.

Dr Mark Kelman, and researchers from the University of Sydney, are hoping to reduce Canine parvovirus fatalities by 90 per cent or more in high risk areas.

“Canine parvovirus is a disease that we have really good vaccines for".

“Unfortunately, the problem is that vaccination is not occurring with the right puppies in the right place at the right time. We want to raise awareness of the importance of vaccinating in these areas so we can make a real difference in reducing the number of cases,” Dr Kelman said.

The Australian Veterinary Association and ASAVA (small animal special interest group of the AVA) are supporting the project and are encouraging all veterinarians in companion animal practice to participate in an online research survey.

Veterinarians can contact the researchers for more information and for a link to the survey by emailing .

The Australian Veterinary Association Ltd (AVA) is the national professional association of veterinary surgeons in Australia. Founded in 1921, the AVA today represents 9000 members working in all areas of animal science, health and welfare.