GRAND FORKS, N.D. — A North Dakota company that discovered an antibody technology while trying to cure flocks of dying geese is using its research for a more warm and fuzzy purpose: saving puppies.

Early tests performed on about 50 puppies in seven states for Grand Forks-based Avianax have resulted in a 90 percent cure rate for canine parvovirus, which spreads through animal waste and direct contact between dogs, usually at kennels, shelters and shows. Some puppies die from the virus and others are euthanized because the antibiotics and other medicine needed to treat it can be too expensive – sometimes up to $2,000 – and take too long.

It isn’t clear how many dogs contract parvo annually, since the disease isn’t required to be reported. At the Kansas City Pet Project, one of eight test sites and among the largest shelters in the United States, about five cases a month wind up on the “parvo ward.” Officials with the Missouri shelter believe the treatment will lead to a dramatic increase in their “parvo graduates.”

“When the box arrived we were yelling, ‘Woo, the geese antibodies are here!'” shelter spokeswoman Tori Fugate said. “Just the fact that someone is caring out there is pretty remarkable. A lot of open admission shelters choose to not treat parvo because it’s considered too much of a resource.”

Avianax chief operating officer Richard Glynn hopes to start selling the parvoONE antibody-based treatment – that is harvested from the yokes of goose eggs – for $75 a dose by next spring.

“I think there will be a lot of puppy owners who will be very happy,” Glynn said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a conditional permit for the field trials that are taking place in sites in Missouri, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Texas, North Carolina and Arizona.