Dr Mark Westman

BVSc (Hons) MANZCVS (Animal Welfare) PhD

C01A - Jl Shute - Camden
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 409 761 951

Biographical details

Mark graduated with a BVSc (Hons) from the University of Sydney in 2003. Following graduation he worked mainly in shelter medicine for 10 years, starting with NSW RSPCA (2004 – 2009) before moving to the NSW Animal Welfare League to take on a management position (2009-2012). During this time he also volunteered for veterinary programs in Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Indonesia and India.

In 2012 he returned to the University of Sydney to undertake a PhD investigating feline retroviral diseases, in particular FIV vaccine effectiveness in the field and FIV antibody response following vaccination. On completion of his PhD in 2016, Mark moved to the Centre for Virus Research at the University of Glasgow to undertake postdoctoral research in the antibody response of FIV and FeLV vaccinated cats, thanks to an Endeavour Research Fellowship and Sydney University Early Career Mobility Scheme Grant.

Mark returned to Australia in 2017 to further pursue his reseach into feline retroviruses and a teaching career at the University of Sydney.

Mark also co-founded Pets in the Park in 2012, a charity dedicated to providing free veterinary care to pets owned by the homeless, which now has clinics in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, ACT and Tasmania. Mark also enjoys running, particularly ultrarunning, and climbing mountains!

Research interests

Mark's primary research interest is infectious diseases found commonly in animal shelters, including feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline leukaemia virus (FeLV), feline herpesvirus (FHV-1), feline calicivirus, canine parvovirus (CPV), feline panleukopenia virus (FPV), giardiasis and Tritrichomonas foetus in cats. Mark also has a strong interest in animal welfare and behaviour, including the effects of animal hoarding and other stressful environments such as high density shelters.

Teaching and supervision

In 2017 Mark returned to the University of Sydney to accept a 12 month lectureship in Animal Disease and Veterinary Microbiology. During this time he also supervised five DVM research projects and one AVBS honours project.

Current research students

Project title Research student
A One Health and One Welfare approach to pig hunting dogs in Queensland Bronwyn ORR

Current projects

Associate supervisor for one PhD project - 'Determining the health and welfare of dogs used for pig hunting in Queensland'

Primary supervisor for five DVM research projects:

- 'The duration of antibody response after annual booster feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) vaccination using commercially available point-of-care antibody tests'

- 'Current hygiene and biosecurity protocols in animals shelters in NSW to reduce the spread of disease'

- 'The reliability of pre-adoption behaviour assessments to identify and predict anxiety behaviours in shelter dogs'

- 'An investigation of hematological differences between healthy FIV-infected cats and FIV-uninfected cats'

- 'A review of behavioural problems encountered in hoarded dogs seized by the RSPCA in NSW'

Associations

Member of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists (ANZCVS)

Member of the Centre for Veterinary Education (CVE)

Member of the International Society for Companion Animal infectious Diseases (ISCAID)

Awards and honours

2018 - Recipient of Sydney School of Veterinary Science award for 'Excellence in DVM teaching'

2018 - Recipient of Faculty of Science Alumni Award in the category of 'Service to Humanity'

2016 -'PhD Excellence Award' for a significant contribution to the field

In the media

https://www.wikivetlive.com/animal-disease-in-shelters

https://players.brightcove.net/2342494722001/HJNZ4U7xb_default/index.html?videoId=5641310612001

https://theconversation.com/cat-plague-is-back-after-nearly-40-years-in-hiding-heres-what-you-need-to-know-91234

https://theconversation.com/i-wont-be-alone-at-christmas-i-have-a-dog-87679

https://pets4life.com.au/podcast/dr-mark-westman-explains-fiv/

http://www.smallanimaltalk.com/2013/07/interview-with-dr-mark-westman-pets-in.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWOaV7nqohc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOb6XXJfWAk

https://vetpracticemag.com.au/tag/dr-mark-westman/

Selected grants

2017

  • The effectiveness of the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) vaccine (Fel-O-Vax FIV�) in the field in Australia; Westman M, Hosie M, Norris J, Malik R; Australian Companion Animal Health Foundation/Research Support.
  • A novel drug (RetroMAD1TM) to treat feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) infection in Australian cats; Westman M, Norris J, Malik R, Sheehy P, Thompson M; Australian Companion Animal Health Foundation/Research Support.
  • Duration of antibody response in feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)-vaccinated cats and the resulting impact on FIV testing using point-of-care kits; Westman M, Norris J, Malik R; Feline Health Research Fund (FHRF)/Research Support.
  • Continuing research examining the field efficacy of the field immunodeficiency virus (FIV) vaccine.; Westman M; Office of Global Engagement/Travel Grants.

2016

  • Investigating the neutralizing antibody response of FIV-vaccinated cats to various 'breakthrough' Australian strains of FIV; Westman M, Norris J, Malik R, Hosie M; Australian Companion Animal Health Foundation/Research Support.
  • Duration of antibody response in feline immunodeficiency virus vaccinated cats and the resulting impact on FIV testing using point-of-care kits; Westman M, Norris J, Malik R, Sheehy P; Feline Health Research Fund (FHRF)/Research Grant.

2015

  • Investigating the prevalence of progressive and regressive feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) infections in Australian cats; Westman M, Norris J, Sheehy P, Malik R; Australian Companion Animal Health Foundation/Research Support.

2014

  • The use of the integrase inhibitor Raltegravir for the treatment of domestic cats with progressive feline leukemia virus infection; Westman M, Norris J, Sheehy P, Malik R; Australian Companion Animal Health Foundation/Research Support.
  • Diagnosis of Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) infection - is testing saliva a valid alternative to testing blood; Westman M, Norris J, Malik R; Feline Health Research Fund (FHRF)/Research Support.

2013

  • Comparison of diagnostic methods for indentification of Feline immunodeficiency virus infection in unvaccinated and vaccinated cats in Australia; Westman M, Norris J; Australian Companion Animal Health Foundation/Research Support.

Selected publications

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Journals

  • Westman, M., Malik, R., Norris, J. (2019). Diagnosing feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) infection: an update for clinicians. Australian Veterinary Journal, 97(3), 47-55. [More Information]
  • Pockett, J., Orr, B., Hall, E., Chong, W., Westman, M. (2019). Investigating the impact of indemnity waivers on the length of stay of cats at an Australian shelter. Animals, 9(2), 1-12. [More Information]
  • Westman, M., Malik, R., Hall, E., Sheehy, P., Norris, J. (2017). Comparison of three feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) point-of-care antigen test kits using blood and saliva. Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, 50, 88-96. [More Information]
  • Westman, M., Malik, R., Hall, E., Harris, M., Hosie, M., Norris, J. (2017). Duration of antibody response following vaccination against feline immunodeficiency virus. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 19(10), 1055-1064. [More Information]
  • McLuckie, A., Barrs, V., Wilson, B., Westman, M., Beatty, J. (2017). Felis Catus Gammaherpesvirus 1 DNAemia in Whole Blood from Therapeutically Immunosuppressed or Retrovirus-Infected Cats. Veterinary Sciences, 4(16), 1-9. [More Information]
  • Irwin, P., Robertson, I., Westman, M., Perkins, M., Straubinger, R. (2017). Searching for Lyme borreliosis in Australia: results of a canine sentinel study. Parasites and Vectors, 10(1), 1-9. [More Information]
  • Westman, M., Malik, R., Hall, E., Norris, J. (2016). Diagnosing feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) infection in FIV-vaccinated and FIV-unvaccinated cats using saliva. Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, 46, 66-72. [More Information]
  • Westman, M., Paul, A., Malik, R., McDonagh, P., Ward, M., Hall, E., Norris, J. (2016). Seroprevalence of feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukaemia virus in Australia: risk factors for infection and geographical influences (2011�2013). Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, , 1-11. [More Information]
  • Westman, M., Malik, R., Hall, E., Harris, M., Norris, J. (2016). The protective rate of the feline immunodeficiency virus vaccine: An Australian field study. Vaccine, 34, 4752-4758. [More Information]
  • Westman, M., Malik, R., Hall, E., Sheehy, P., Norris, J. (2015). Determining the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) status of FIV-vaccinated cats using point-of-care antibody kits. Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, 42, 43-52. [More Information]
  • Slapeta, J., Dowd, S., Alanazi, A., Westman, M., Brown, G. (2015). Differences in the faecal microbiome of non-diarrhoeic clinically healthy dogs and cats associated with Giardia duodenalis infection: impact of hookworm and coccidia. International Journal for Parasitology, 45(9-10), 585-594. [More Information]
  • Joffe, M., O'Shannessy, D., Dhand, N., Westman, M., Fawcett, A. (2014). Characteristics of persons convicted for offences relating to animal hoarding in New South Wales. Australian Veterinary Journal, 92(10), 369-375. [More Information]

Conferences

  • Westman, M., Malik, R., Hall, E., Harris, M., Norris, J. (2016). The protective rate of the feline immunodeficiency virus vaccine: an Australian field study. Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists, N/A: N/A.
  • Westman, M., Harvey, A., Malik, R., Sheehy, P., Norris, J. (2013). Feline Leukemia Virus Infection: A Case Cluster In A Large Multi-Cat Household. Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists Science week.

2019

  • Westman, M., Malik, R., Norris, J. (2019). Diagnosing feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) infection: an update for clinicians. Australian Veterinary Journal, 97(3), 47-55. [More Information]
  • Pockett, J., Orr, B., Hall, E., Chong, W., Westman, M. (2019). Investigating the impact of indemnity waivers on the length of stay of cats at an Australian shelter. Animals, 9(2), 1-12. [More Information]

2017

  • Westman, M., Malik, R., Hall, E., Sheehy, P., Norris, J. (2017). Comparison of three feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) point-of-care antigen test kits using blood and saliva. Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, 50, 88-96. [More Information]
  • Westman, M., Malik, R., Hall, E., Harris, M., Hosie, M., Norris, J. (2017). Duration of antibody response following vaccination against feline immunodeficiency virus. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 19(10), 1055-1064. [More Information]
  • McLuckie, A., Barrs, V., Wilson, B., Westman, M., Beatty, J. (2017). Felis Catus Gammaherpesvirus 1 DNAemia in Whole Blood from Therapeutically Immunosuppressed or Retrovirus-Infected Cats. Veterinary Sciences, 4(16), 1-9. [More Information]
  • Irwin, P., Robertson, I., Westman, M., Perkins, M., Straubinger, R. (2017). Searching for Lyme borreliosis in Australia: results of a canine sentinel study. Parasites and Vectors, 10(1), 1-9. [More Information]

2016

  • Westman, M., Malik, R., Hall, E., Norris, J. (2016). Diagnosing feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) infection in FIV-vaccinated and FIV-unvaccinated cats using saliva. Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, 46, 66-72. [More Information]
  • Westman, M., Paul, A., Malik, R., McDonagh, P., Ward, M., Hall, E., Norris, J. (2016). Seroprevalence of feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukaemia virus in Australia: risk factors for infection and geographical influences (2011�2013). Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, , 1-11. [More Information]
  • Westman, M., Malik, R., Hall, E., Harris, M., Norris, J. (2016). The protective rate of the feline immunodeficiency virus vaccine: An Australian field study. Vaccine, 34, 4752-4758. [More Information]
  • Westman, M., Malik, R., Hall, E., Harris, M., Norris, J. (2016). The protective rate of the feline immunodeficiency virus vaccine: an Australian field study. Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists, N/A: N/A.

2015

  • Westman, M., Malik, R., Hall, E., Sheehy, P., Norris, J. (2015). Determining the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) status of FIV-vaccinated cats using point-of-care antibody kits. Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, 42, 43-52. [More Information]
  • Slapeta, J., Dowd, S., Alanazi, A., Westman, M., Brown, G. (2015). Differences in the faecal microbiome of non-diarrhoeic clinically healthy dogs and cats associated with Giardia duodenalis infection: impact of hookworm and coccidia. International Journal for Parasitology, 45(9-10), 585-594. [More Information]

2014

  • Joffe, M., O'Shannessy, D., Dhand, N., Westman, M., Fawcett, A. (2014). Characteristics of persons convicted for offences relating to animal hoarding in New South Wales. Australian Veterinary Journal, 92(10), 369-375. [More Information]

2013

  • Westman, M., Harvey, A., Malik, R., Sheehy, P., Norris, J. (2013). Feline Leukemia Virus Infection: A Case Cluster In A Large Multi-Cat Household. Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists Science week.

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