Dr Mark Kelman introduces Parvo ALERT

15 Dec 2021

As veterinarians, we are all too familiar with the devastating effects that Parvo has on pets. Highly contagious, Parvo is responsible for the death of more pet dogs in Australia than any other virus. Recent research carried out by the University of Sydney revealed that 20,000 cases of canine parvovirus are encountered in Australia each year, and tragically, nearly half of these cases result in death. Seeing animals die from a preventable disease is heartbreaking for all concerned, which is why veterinarian, Dr Mark Kelman co-founder and CEO of social enterprise charity, Paws for A Purpose, and a passionate advocate for animal health and welfare is doing his best to turn this around.  

The veterinarian behind Parvo ALERT 

Dr Mark Kelman is a graduate from Murdoch University in 2000, who has pursued a career as a veterinarian, scientific researcher, and social philanthropist. After several years in small animal clinical practice and the veterinary pharmaceutical industry, Mark then completed a PhD in canine parvoviral epidemiology at The University of Sydney, and now leads a research-and-intervention project with the goal of stopping this disease in Australia. While working in industry, he created Disease WatchDog, Australia’s national disease surveillance system, that operated from 2010 to 2017, and he has just launched ParvoALERT.com, the new canine parvovirus-tracking, mapping and alerting system for Australia.  

A breakthrough in disease management 

Parvo ALERT is a system capable of tracking cases of canine and feline parvovirus and of generating alerts on disease outbreaks. The system also monitors disease activity to identify where vaccination programs are needed, and whether measures being taken are helping to control outbreaks and cases. Dr Kelman says that the first essential step towards stopping parvovirus is having an effective system for reporting cases. “Vets can quickly and easily report any canine or feline Parvo case they see, on our new detection, tracking and outbreak-alerting website ParvoALERT.com,” said Dr Kelman. 

The major benefit of having the ability to rapidly track outbreaks, using the Parvo ALERT system is that communities can be advised of the risks very quickly, and moves to raise vaccination levels can be put into action in these areas. “Best of all, the website is completely free for vets to use and for the community to be informed about outbreaks as they occur”, says Mark. “It’s exciting that vet clinics across Australia can work together through Parvo ALERT to help eliminate this terrible disease from our communities,” said Dr Kelman. 

A call to action 

Dr Kelman and his team are asking all veterinary clinics to diligently record cases, to provide the information essential to the success of the program.  

Key features of ParvoALERT.com include: 

  • Parvo mapping: Mapping of all cases, so anyone can see where cases have occurred and where the high-risk areas are for disease transmission
  • Media alerts:The ability to send comprehensive media alerts to the mainstream media, to notify the public of Parvo outbreaks and further raise awareness of the need for urgent vaccination in these areas
  • Email alerts:The system allows users to set up an automatedemail alert, so they can be notified when outbreaks occur in their designated area 
  • Parvo graphing: Graphing of Parvo cases to see where disease outbreaks are worsening
  • Parvo hot-spotting: A unique tool that reports in real-time on the highest-risk regions for Parvo
  • Easy and fast to use: The website works on PC, Mac, or smartphone device.

Dr Kelman and his team are inviting all veterinary clinics to diligently record cases, to provide information essential to the success of the program.  

Direct benefits for Veterinary clinics  

  • Parvo cases can be logged online in seconds, to raise awareness about disease as it happens 
  • Alerts can be set up in seconds, so clinics can be notified of cases in their vicinity, as an early-warning system 

Clinics can become further involved in the fight against Parvovirus through: 

  • Notifying clients of the need to vaccinate or re-vaccinate, ahead of Parvo outbreaks 
  • Putting up posters (available from the ParvoALERT.com website) to let clients and staff know about Parvo 

Dr Kelman and his team urge all veterinary clinics, and especially those that see Parvo cases (canine or feline) to register now at ParvoALERT.com/signup