AMRRIC recognises that ethical, culturally sensitive research can result in significant and tangible benefits for both Indigenous communities and their companion animals. We also value the benefits of the involvement of Indigenous people as full partners in research projects. Such collaboration builds capacity both within communities and of Indigenous researchers, institutions and organisations, and is a model that AMRRIC strongly supports.
As Australia’s only independent organisation focusing on all areas of companion animal management in rural and remote Indigenous communities, AMRRIC is in a unique position to facilitate effective and appropriate research collaborations. We are eager to engage with Indigenous communities and researchers to assist in the development and implementation of projects that align with our Research Policy (PDF, 395kb) and strategic objectives.
AMRRIC’s Research Priorities
For further information about collaborating with AMRRIC on research projects, please contact AMRRIC.
Previous and ongoing research projects include:
• AMRRIC was a partner in the University of Sydney Australian Research Council Linkage Grant (ARC) project “Healthy Dogs, Healthy Communities” , chaired by the late Professor Robert Dixon. The project examined the relationships between culturally-appropriate education and training, dog health and welfare, and human health and welfare in 6 remote Indigenous communities across Australia. The project sought to demonstrate that the improvement of the health and welfare of dogs through sustainable dog health programs are directly due to the community involvement catalysed by specifically-designed knowledge and skill sharing activities. The project furthered aimed to show that the improvement of dog health and welfare also impacts on human health and welfare in Indigenous communities. Published manuscripts include:
• The Transmissible Cancer Group (TCG) at the University of Cambridge studies the genetic changes that cause cancers to become transmissible. There are only two known naturally occurring transmissible cancers in mammals, and these are the canine transmissible venereal tumour (TVT) affecting dogs, and the transmissible facial tumour affecting Tasmanian devils. In collaboration with AMRRIC, the TCG is studying the genetic changes in TVT tumours in Australia, and using this information to trace the history and spread of TVT and to design better treatment and prevention strategies. Publications from this research include:
• AMRRIC assisted University of Sydney researchers investigating the movements and interactions of community dogs as part of a broader rabies preparedness project. Publications include:
• Through collaboration with the University of New England, AMRRIC and the Tiwi Islands Regional Council, PhD candidate Jessica Sparkes quantified the Nguiu (Tiwi Islands) dog population and assessed the effects of sex and reproductive state on activity patterns and contact rates of free-roaming dogs using mark-recapture and GPS telemetry methods. This work was part of broader team project conducting research into rabies, aiming to assist Australia’s efforts in preventing the disease entering Australia or halting its spread should the disease breach quarantine. Publications from this project include:
• Ticks collected from community dogs during AMRRIC veterinary programs have been sent to Murdoch University for analysis by Professor Peter Irwin and colleagues who are investigating potential pathogens (including zoonoses) in ticks across Australia. Visit Tick Vectors for further information. Publications include:
• AMRRIC was involved in an Honors Project through the Menzies School of Health Research entitled ‘The occurrence of the melioidosis agent Burkholderia pseudomallei in scats from captive and wild animals in the Darwin region’. Melioidosis is an emerging infectious disease caused by the soil bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei, impacting humans and animals in northern Australia and South East Asia with an increasingly expanding geographic range. Collaboration with AMRRIC by way of sampling from animals in Indigenous communities was a crucial component of this study as melioidosis is a disease which disproportionately impacts Indigenous Australians.
• AMRRIC has assisted a research group at Flinders University investigating Strongyloides – a group of parasitic hookworms capable of infecting humans and other mammals. The research group is investigating environmental factors that determine Strongyloides distribution, and the role that dogs might play in Strongyloides transmission.
• By facilitating the collection of dog blood samples, AMRRIC supported University of Queensland research investigating the presence of Rickettsia felis – a vector-borne organism of zoonotic disease significance. This became the first reported study demonstrating the presence of Rickettsia felis in Indigenous community dogs in the Northern Territory.