NZVA - New Zealand Veterinary Association

Dog on the range

Companion Animal Veterinarians (CAV)

Our vision is a thriving companion animal veterinary profession in New Zealand. We work towards this by promoting and supporting all aspects of companion animal veterinary practice.


CAV was established in 1972 as a special interest branch of the New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) for veterinarians with a focus on small animal work.

It's operated by an executive committee of nine volunteer veterinarians from around New Zealand. These veterinarians come from a broad range of backgrounds with practice owners, associate veterinarians, industry veterinarians and academics represented. Further support is given to the branch by the Veterinary Manager (Companion Animals) and a Newsletter Editor.


CAV membership provides veterinarians with these benefits:


Support for members' continuing professional development

  • Annual subscription to the Companion Animal Quarterly. This magazine, published in March, June, September and December, is packed with articles contributed by New Zealand’s leading veterinarians or relevant topics to everyday practice. A handy template in each issue allows for easy recording of self-directed CPD points from each issue.

  • e-CAV is sent 4-6 times each year to keep members up-to-date with topical issues encountered in practice.

  • Access to CAV member online resources on the CAV website and group pages (e.g. breeding and fireworks toolboxes to support clinical work).

  • Significant discounts on the registration fees for the CAV annual conference, as well as VetLearn courses.

  • Access to all past CAV annual conference proceedings via indexed searching on Sciquest.

  • Eligible to apply for the "A week with…" scholarship to enable you to spend a week seeing practice with a specialist of your choice.

  • Favourable consideration for the Educating the Educators scholarship to enable advanced education overseas designed to support leading veterinarians in their field.

  • Favourable consideration from Healthy Pets New Zealand for research projects that support companion animal health and welfare.

  • CAV members are automatically granted World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) membership. The benefits of WSAVA membership include free online access to their previous congress presentations, complimentary subscription to the WSAVA e-bulletin and Clinician's brief, and discounts for the Journal of Small Animal Practice and VetFolio resource.

Support for members in their clinical roles

  • Members can contact CAV to discuss queries that arise in everyday practice. We have access to wide professional networks which are useful for providing helpful advice on the more unusual things we may come across.

  • CAV is active developing and reviewing companion animal related policies for the NZVA. We ensure these are well researched so that members have reliable evidence-based information to support their clinical work. These also serve to educate the public and unify the profession on key topics.

  • CAV provide updated information directly to members in a timely fashion when new or emerging companion animal health issues occur (e.g. the discovery of RHDV2 in New Zealand rabbits).

  • CAV represent members' interests through submissions and relationship building with other stakeholders whose decisions that will have an impact on our clinical work such as the Veterinary Council of New Zealand (VCNZ) and the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Group (ACVM).

Collegial opportunities for members

  • Support for regional branches by providing speakers on companion animal topics through the Educating the Educators scholarship.

  • Annual dinner for members during conference, hosted by CAV.

  • CAV is a member of the Federation of Asian Small Animal Veterinary Association (FASAVA) and CAV members are welcome at their events.

Support that enhances the wellbeing of all members and the wider veterinary community

  • CAV recognise and celebrate the outstanding work done by companion animal veterinarians. CAV make awards to members for service to the branch, life membership to recognise outstanding contributions. CAV also nominate members for New Zealand Royal Honours and NZVA awards.

  • CAV members can participate in an annual nationwide workplace mental health barometer survey to provide information that helps to identify areas particular to companion animal veterinarians where further support is needed.

  • CAV provides support for NZVA wellbeing initiatives such as the Elizabeth Benevolent Fund and the mentoring scheme.

  • CAV supports our 'up and coming' veterinarians with an annual student lunch for fourth year students, and free membership to the branch for all veterinary students. Regular email updates connect them to the profession that they will soon be entering.

  • CAV supports our recent veterinary graduates by giving free CAV membership to first and second year graduate veterinarians.

  • CAV promotes maintaining a connection to our profession for those on parental leave by providing free CAV membership.

  • CAV assists with the retention of practicing veterinarians by providing a pathway for those that are returning to companion animal practice following a career break or switching from another veterinary discipline by developing and maintaining the CAV veterinary refresher scheme. 

  • CAV liaise with the Veterinary Business Branch to develop initiatives that support the creation and promotion of healthy workplaces.

Gives members a voice to advocate for animal welfare and promote the importance of companion animals in New Zealand society

  • CAV monitors the media for issues pertaining to companion animals and provides comment on companion animal health and the veterinary profession through regular national media releases, articles and media responses to topical issues.

  • CAV represent members on committees that deal with animal welfare issues such as the Dogs NZ health and welfare committee, Greyhound Racing NZ welfare committee, and the NZ Companion Animal Trust.

  • CAV lobby the government and work with other stakeholders such as the RNZSPCA, Companion Animals New Zealand (formerly the New Zealand Companion Animal Council), Dogs NZ, NZ Institute of Animal Management, Massey University and Trade Me to improve animal welfare.

  • CAV supports research that benefits companion animal health and welfare by providing donations, representation and support for Healthy Pets New Zealand (formerly the Companion Animal Health Foundation).