NZVA - New Zealand Veterinary Association

Dog on the range

The CAV committee members

The Companion Animal Veterinarians Branch is operated by an executive committee of up to nine veterinarians from around New Zealand. The committee has 4 meeting days each year and support the branch work by providing opinions and expertise by email and teleconferencing between meetings.

Being a member of the committee is an excellent means of professional development as well as a way to "give back" to the profession. Costs to attend meetings are covered by the branch, along with a locum fee. Members also receive NZVA conference registration at student rates and a complimentary ticket to the annual CAV dinner.

Nominations for the executive committee are called for in March each year. If you are interested in serving on the executive committee please email for more information.

Members can access documents from the previous AGM here.

Back row L to R: Alison Pickering, Nina Field, Toni Anns, Natalie Lloyd, Simon Clark, John Munday; Front row L to R: Aimee Brooker, Sarah Fowler, Rochelle Ferguson, Becky Murphy, Paula Short

Back row L to R: Alison Pickering, Nina Field, Toni Anns, Natalie Lloyd, Simon Clark, John Munday
Front row L to R: Aimee Brooker, Sarah Fowler, Rochelle Ferguson, Becky Murphy, Paula Short

Natalie Lloyd - President

I grew up in Wellington and spent most of my spare time in my primary and secondary years of school riding horses in Ohariu Valley, a small rural area 20 mins from Wellington CBD. After a veterinarian paid a visit to my horse who was suffering from an eye injury, I set my sights on a veterinary degree and never looked back.

Graduating from Massey University in 1995, I have worked in companion animal practice in Wellington for most of my career, however I did spend two years as a companion animal vet in the United Kingdom in the late 90's and two years in the pet nutrition industry for Masterfoods, selling Waltham prescription diets.

David and I were married in 2005 and bought the Tasman St Vet Centre in Mount Cook, Wellington the same year. David had a passion for running his own business and a background in Marketing and Sales. I was enthusiastic about growing the clinic and embraced the idea of building the practice in a close community. We now live in the Mount Cook community, and our two children aged six and nine go to school locally.

I have a passion for companion animal medicine. Our clinic focuses on preventative health care, tailored vaccination programmes, and high standards of veterinary care provided through clearly communicated treatment plans. I use a holistic approach, not only looking at the pet's presenting problem(s), but also considering the impact their environment, nutrition, lifestyle and age may have on their illness. This is an essential part of my diagnostic approach, that allows me to structure a treatment plan that will work for both the owner and the pet.

I have been a member of the NZVA, the Wellington regional branch and the CAV for twenty years and have joined the CAV executive this year in order to give back a little to an organisation which has supported me throughout my career.

Becky Murphy - Vice President

I spent my childhood in sunny Nelson where I regularly participated in obedience, agility and conformation showing with my parents’ dogs. My first ‘show dog’ was a loopy Dobermann Rusty, who didn’t do too badly and hooked me to the game. After Rusty came Holly my beagle. She was superb and was my real introduction to the ‘dog world’ with her winnings taking us around the country.

I left Nelson and did a BSc at the University of Canterbury, finding myself subsequently employed in a human medical laboratory in the microbiology department. A few years down the track my husband and I relocated to Palmerston North where he works as a consulting engineer. With Massey being just around the corner, and the laboratory work not exciting me too much anymore, I managed to end up doing a BVSc.

Our first daughter was born not long after I graduated, and I spent the following years working ever increasing hours as a companion animal veterinarian in a mixed practice in the Rangitikei. Our second daughter was born 4 years ago which prompted a lifestyle change to try and suit the family a bit more. Since then I have started my own business which is limited to genetic health testing and canine reproduction. The same week the business started the (then ) NZ Kennel Club (now Dogs NZ) advertised for a canine health & welfare officer. I ticked all the boxes and decided to apply. 2 ½ years later I am still with Dogs NZ and managing my business and family and could not be happier.

Its great to be part of CAV. I hope to be able to add value to all facets but especially those related to the responsible production of our pets. It’s the collaborative approach between breeder and veterinarian which will have the greatest impact and I will keep chipping away at it!

Simon Clark - Treasurer

I grew up in Auckland and developed a special interest in science at an early age. When I graduated from Massey I started in mixed practice in the Henderson, Kumeu, Waitakere area. After a few years I moved to Los Angeles to upskill by undertaking a rotating internship at the Animal Specialty Hospital. On completing my internship, I worked in Las Vegas for a few years in companion animal general practice clinics and the local emergency hospital. I returned to New Zealand in 2009 and took a role as the head small animal vet at a large mixed practice in Levin. In 2016 I changed to industry work and became a Technical Product Manager at Virbac.

Paula Short - Secretary

Growing up on a dairy farm in Southland inevitably led me to vet school at Massey University to follow my passion for animals. While there I also discovered a love of the great outdoors and spent many weekends away kayaking, climbing and tramping with the Massey Alpine Club.

After graduating in 2000 I was lucky enough to find myself working in a mixed practice position at Riverside Vets in Ashburton under then owner Lewis Griffiths. Following that I worked in small animal practice in New Zealand and in England and had short stints in the pharmaceutical industry and with MAF.

Practice ownership beckoned and I spent the next eight years in the Nelson region growing Tasman Bay Vets before selling it to a neighbouring practice so I could spend more time with my young family.

I'm now following my dual passions for animal nutrition and business by setting up a small pet food company producing healthy, sustainable and ethically sourced pet food. I strongly believe in the direction our profession is currently taking with its focus on animals, people and the environment and look forward to contributing, where I can, to drive this forward.

John Munday - Immediate Past President

My first veterinary job was in Whangarei, but an interest in research lured me back to Massey University after a couple of years of clinical practice. After completing a PhD looking at the role of alcohol and antioxidants in the prevention of heart disease in people (good and useless respectively), I decided that understanding how diseases develop was the thing that interested me most. To learn more I completed a two-year pathology residency at Michigan State University. After passing my board examinations to become a member of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists, I obtained a position as a diagnostic pathologist at the University of Georgia where I spent many a happy hour looking at skin diseases and tumours from companion animals.

After four years in Georgia I decided it was time to return home and I have been in the pathology department at Massey University for the last ten years. During that time I continued my interest in tumors of companion animals and my main research interest is investigating causes of cancer in animals and trying to more accurately predict cancer behaviour. I also enjoy the teaching component of my job and think having a member of the CAV executive on the staff at the Veterinary School will be beneficial both to increase the visibility of CAV to the students, but also to determine how best CAV will be able to meet the needs of our future graduates.

Coming back to New Zealand was the best decision of my life as here I met my wonderful partner with whom I now have two young children. In my free time I enjoy mountain biking and taking our dog on long walks.

Toni Anns

Learning new concepts and understanding people are two of my biggest passions. I am stimulated by change, I love new ideas, concepts, and places. I am grateful each and every day for my life and I have a very positive attitude to almost everything. My teenage years were spent on a lifestyle block in Waitakere and this ensured that I had at least one of every animal, and I loved it. Our main food all came from our land. I rode horses, had pigs, cows, sheep, chickens, goats, dogs, cats, a budgie and I was in my blissful place, having wanted to be a vet since I was four years old. (I spent one day at TVNZ thinking I might want to be a journalist but I was told not to, that most of the time it was boring as anything!) So I pursued my veterinary career, graduated from Massey University in 1991 and went straight to England.

I worked in a very busy practice in Southern England and had great support and an excellent learning environment. The two year working holiday turned into seven. I left New Zealand with two backpacks and seven years later returned with a container full of stuff, a husband and a basketball team full of children.

I took a seven-year break from work to immerse myself in motherhood, which I loved, and then went back to companion animal practice in Auckland.

Change was on the horizon again for me another seven years later (theme here), and this led me to apply for the technical veterinarian role at Pfizer, where I remain six years later – we are now Zoetis. I love my job, I find the constant change and varied tasks stimulating.

My desire to join CAV comes from wanting to bring my life experiences and learnings to help others in this industry. Connecting. I am passionate about animals and people probably equally (depending on the animal or person). My interests outside of work when not doing laundry or cooking (I am now re-married with a netball team plus reserve), involve travel (not often enough), and the great outdoors, especially the beach and nature walks. I have run quite a few half marathons, (I am not a natural runner), completed one Great Walk and look forward to working through the rest.

I am deeply involved in the veterinary industry from an employment perspective, as well as having many friends in the industry, enjoy being part of the new WIVES committee (Women in Veterinary/Essential Solutions)- a peer support forum for women veterinarians in New Zealand, continuing education in clinic/conferences/journal clubs, and have a broad understanding of the New Zealand companion animal industry. I have been a working single parent for more years than not, and I understand the many challenges this brings for the changing dynamic of the veterinary industry as a whole.

Nina Field

I left the sunshine of Motueka for Palmerston North and Massey University after high school and graduated in 1991. My first job was in a companion animal practice in Rotorua and after 18mths my itchy feet got the better of me and I headed off for my OE. The next 11 years were spent based in the United Kingdom in a variety of mainly companion animal jobs, both as a locum and full time employment interspersed with lots of travel and the occasional small stint of locums back here in New Zealand.

Finally I arrived back home on a one way ticket with husband, son, dog and cat and we settled in Christchurch. There I worked part-time in clinics, had a daughter and enjoyed being near family and the sea! My husband's work however had us moving a little further south and we are now ensconced in Ashburton and I am working part time for VetEnt. I've been at Riverside for nearly four years and am loving working in a team, learning from my colleagues and using my many years of experience to help them as well. This is also the first time I've been involved with dairy vets and the dairy industry, making me more aware of the veterinary profession as a nationwide ( if not worldwide) community.

I'm hoping that my experience as a vet and as a person can be of use as a mentor as well as someone who has been in most companion animal situations and survived! Also as an example of making the job work, part-time, so other veterinarians aren't perhaps so tempted to leave clinical work and employers can embrace the benefits of part timers.

The more experiences you have in your life you have a greater awareness of your individual responsibility not only to yourself and immediate family but also the community, the land and the future. Joining the CAV Executive committee is my attempt to give back to the profession and hopefully help New Zealand in its aims to provide a healthy and productive environment for us all to live in, and become good global citizens - therefore able to help others less fortunate than ourselves.

Alison Pickering

I am a companion animal veterinarian based in the beautiful Bay of Plenty. My professional areas of interest include dermatology, diagnostic imaging and public health, and I also enjoy
working up complex medical cases. I especially enjoy working with my feline patients, and would love to see practices moving towards being more cat friendly!

I have worked as a community practice veterinarian at the Massey Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Teaching vet and vet tech students while working alongside referral and specialist veterinarians
provided me with the opportunity to develop my medical and diagnostic skills. While at Massey I completed my Master’s degree in the epidemiology of Leptospirosis dogs in New Zealand.
I have worked with Pacific Island clinics in Rarotonga, Vanuatu and Samoa, a future career goal is to combine my passion for working with charity clinics and my interest in public health.

As a CAV committee member, I am looking forward to using my experience to support and promote the interests companion animals in New Zealand. Given the highs, lows and challenges of the profession I want to encourage CAV members to continue to communicate, support and look out for each other,
participate in the CAV community, communications and the CAV Facebook group. "The whole is greater than the sum of all its parts"(Aristotle).

Sarah Fowler – Companion Quarterly Editor

I grew up in Whitianga in the sunny Coromandel and spent most of my teen years desperate to leave. Now I'd do almost anything to live within walking distance of such lovely beaches! After chickening out of even trying to get into the vet course, I headed to Auckland University to do a Bachelor of Science while trying to figure out what else to do with my life.

A scientific bent combined with a strong desire not to do experiments involving animals led me to my "starter" career as a plant scientist. After gaining a PhD in Plant Molecular Biology studying the genes that control the timing of flowering in plants, I worked for five years in the United States on the molecular mechanisms of frost tolerance in plants. During this time my husband (who was also a scientist) and I both became disillusioned with our career choice. We decided we needed a change of tack and returning to New Zealand to train as vets seemed like the solution to our ennui. This seems fairly mad in hindsight!

I graduated from Massey University with my BVSc in 2010. Since then I have spent six months as a locum vet in the Anaesthesia service at Massey University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, and have been employed as a companion animal veterinarian at a small private clinic in Palmerston North for the last 2 years. This has been interspersed with two six month stints of maternity leave caring for my two small daughters now aged seven months and nearly three.

While I have a particular interest in the medical side of canine and feline healthcare, I enjoy all aspects of small animal practice. I am keen to make use of the skills I gained in my "previous life" as a scientist and to be involved in the community of vets in New Zealand, and I see taking on the editorship of the CAV newsletter as a good way to do this.