Veterinary scene Down Under: Online resource for finding a credentialed dog breeder, plus animal health data app and more

dvm360dvm360 March 2022
Volume 53
Issue 3
Pages: 15

dvm360®’s Australian correspondent reports on a website that connects potential puppy owners to dog breeders and an app that streamlines the collection of animal management data in Australia’s remote communities.

Matching potential owners with dog breeders

Imogen Tomlin-Game, BVSc, co-founder of RightPaw (Photo courtesy of RightPaw).

Imogen Tomlin-Game, BVSc, co-founder of RightPaw (Photo courtesy of RightPaw).

For a long time, no trustworthy and supportive resource existed for people seeking responsible dog breeders. Frustrated, Australian veterinarian Imogen Tomlin-Game, BVSc, partnered with former marketing executive Nathan Olivieri and software engineer Adelaine Ho to create RightPaw, an online resource dedicated to making finding the right dog simpler and safer.

“Helping people find the right dog…from a responsible source is key to animal welfare, [because] so many problems later in life, such as health [and] behavior issues and dogs being relinquished to shelters, can be traced back to problems at the start of a dog’s life. We created RightPaw to connect prospective puppy owners with responsible breeders and help all puppies ‘start off on the right paw,’” explained Tomlin-Game to dvm360®.

RightPaw has created a database of veterinary-approved dog breeders who have passed the company’s independent verification process. The website allows potential pet owners to browse through and apply to those verified dog breeders when they are looking to purchase a puppy.

“Our verification process includes a code of ethics interview, health test verifications, and a virtual video inspection of the breeder’s premises. For breeders, RightPaw has created a powerful management tool to profile and screen potential applicants and ensure they are selecting the right homes for their pups. They can also securely offer and accept payments through the RightPaw platform,” said Tomlin-Game.

“Breeders love how efficient and organized their application management can be. Puppy buyers love having a trustworthy place to start their search, knowing that the breeders are all verified. We have had tens of thousands of applications from puppy buyers since launching RightPaw.”

The website has only been in operation since 2020 and already has over 430 dog breeder profiles on the platform, featuring purebred and crossbreed dogs. Tomlin-Game noted that RightPaw has ambitious plans.

“We are looking at how we can continue to support owners to become the most responsible pet parents they can be. We have created a Puppy Prep Program available to all buyers who purchase their puppy through RightPaw, and this is just the beginning of how we can help create a better breed of ‘pawrent,’” she said.

App captures data in remote communities

Courtney Falls, AMRRIC education officer, collaborating with the Thamarrurr Rangers at Wadeye training them to use the AMRRIC app (Photo courtesy of the AMRRIC).

Courtney Falls, AMRRIC education officer, collaborating with the Thamarrurr Rangers at Wadeye training them to use the AMRRIC app (Photo courtesy of the AMRRIC).

In Australia’s remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, a new mobile app is helping veterinarians, rangers, and animal management workers to capture animal health data that will benefit community health, biosecurity, and disease surveillance.

Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities (AMRRIC) is a not-for-profit organization that works to empower remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to meet their needs for companion animal health and management.

The collection and recording of remote community animal management data has traditionally been cumbersome at best and nonexistent at worst. To overcome this, AMRRIC developed the AMRRIC App, designed for user-friendly data capture and to streamline centralized data management and the standardization of records.

“Recognizing that an essential component of good animal management is the collection and monitoring of animal management data, [we developed] the AMRRIC App to solve this challenge. The AMRRIC App has been specifically designed for the unique context of remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and has a clear visual layout with easy navigation that does not require the user to possess extensive computer skills or high-level literacy,” said Bonny Cumming, BVSc (Hons I), MVS (Cons Med), AMRRIC’s program manager of strategic delivery.

The app has 2 modes—a vet mode and a census mode—and can be used without an internet connection. It is synced to a centralized database when back in internet range, a critical functionality for animal management workers in remote communities.

“The vet mode caters to veterinary professionals, allowing them to capture individual animal clinical notes and treatment data, as well as companion animal population data at a community level, providing a simple, secure, and standardized record-keeping solution for vets practicing in remote communities. The census mode is a simplified interface [catering to] animal management workers and rangers to capture population and health data,” said Cumming.

Data collected with the app has already been used to inform the design and delivery of local government animal management programs and animal welfare responses associated with natural disasters such as cyclones. The app also provides vital dog population data during disease outbreaks such as the tick-borne Ehrlichia canis.

“Recent animal disease events, including the outbreak of Ehrlichia canis which has devastated dog populations in many remote communities across Northern Australia, and the threat of incursions of exotic diseases such as rabies and African swine fever emphasize the urgent need for improved animal biosecurity data capture in remote indigenous communities,” said Cumming.

“The AMRRIC App is able to produce a biosecurity snapshot, and when the app is repeatedly used for data collection, this allows for [the] monitoring of morbidity and mortality trends within these populations.”

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