NZVA - New Zealand Veterinary Association

NZVA policies on companion animal topics

Canine tail docking

A dog's tail must only be docked by a veterinarian to manage existing disease or injury as it can cause negative welfare outcomes such as chronic pain, hyperalgesia and reduced abilities for social communication. Tail injuries are also usually simply managed so docking for injury prevention is not justifiable.

Dangerous Dog Position Description

Dog aggression is responsible for a significant public health burden in New Zealand. The veterinary profession’s knowledge of dogs and their deep understanding of how society and dogs interact is the foundation for these solution based recommendations on how to manage this complex issue.

Euthanasia of dogs and cats

Veterinarians perform euthanasia with respect and an emphasis on making the death as painless and distress free as possible. These guidelines attempt to balance the ideal of minimal pain and distress with the reality of the many environments in which euthanasia is performed

First digit amputation in dogs

The NZVA is opposed to the prophylactic amputation of the forelimb first digit unless required to manage existing disease or injury. During a running turn, the first digit contacts the ground, giving support to the dog's lower forelimb, preventing torque and reducing stress on joints.

Prepubertal de-sexing in cats and dogs

The NZVA supports pre-pubertal desexing of dogs and cats from eight weeks of age, provided each animal is individually assessed for suitability prior to surgery. A more comprehensive de-sexing policy for dogs and cats will be available late 2018.

Renal transplantation in cats

The The NZVA does not support feline kidney transplant programmes in New Zealand. This procedure is associated with complex ethical considerations and there is a lack of evidence that the procedure provides clear benefits to recipients.

Responsible cat ownership

The New Zealand Veterinary Association strongly supports those principles of responsible cat ownership that contribute to creating a harmonious relationship between people, animals and the environment.

Responsible dog ownership

Veterinarians have knowledge and expertise on the principles of responsible dog ownership and dog welfare. This knowledge can assist dog owners to meet their responsibilities, ensure their dog has "a good life", and retain the benefits that society enjoys from living with dogs.

Behavioural modifying electronic collars in dogs

The NZVA recommends that the emphasis in training dogs should be on reward and positive reinforcement. Punishment based methods such as behavioural modifying electronic collars may be detrimental to the welfare of the dog and cause increased behavioural problems.

Vaccination of cats and dogs

In veterinary medicine, vaccines are an effective tool for preventing life-threatening disease and reducing antibiotic use. This policy is based on the WSAVA 2015 vaccination guidelines but has been adapted for the New Zealand context.