Who we are
Healthy Pets NZ is a registered charity that supports research into improved health and welfare for Kiwi pets. Established by the Companion Animal Branch of the New Zealand Veterinary Association in 1998, we are a team of volunteer veterinary professionals including veterinarians, researchers, veterinary nurses and educators passionate about outcome focussed research that assists companion animals in New Zealand.
We raise funds through sponsorships, bequests and donations for outcome focused research that makes a difference to the lives of Kiwi pets and their owners. Over the last 20 years, our research has resulted in new diagnostic and treatment options becoming available to the veterinary profession here. We recently began funding research into the value of pets to society and the human-pet bond. Our research continues to help improve care, results in new and better diagnostic investigation, and explores new treatment options for a range of issues affecting Kiwi pets.
Our researchers seek to publish their results and communicate important findings to the public.
Find out more about our research.
Why is our work important?
Although New Zealand has fewer infectious diseases than many countries, our pets face their own unique health and welfare challenges. While international companion animal research can be extrapolated in some cases, we think it's its important to focus on the issues that matter most to us and our pets here in New Zealand.
There is no government funding to investigate these issues.
That’s where Healthy Pets New Zealand comes in!
Meet our team.
Want to help? Find out how!
Healthy Pets New Zealand started life in 1998 as the Companion Animal Health Foundation (CAHF). The charitable trust (CC32372) was established with the purpose of providing funding specifically for research to improve the lives of companion animals in New Zealand, as well as for education.
CAHF was the brainchild of Boyd Jones and Ian Robertson to attract sponsorship for research projects at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Massey University. The foundation was established by a working group of the CAS executive, based in the Waikato at the time, and the initial Trust Deed was drawn up with assistance from Ross Blanks (CAS representative on the NZVA Board), Bob Duckworth (NZVA Executive Director) and an NZVA lawyer. The initial trustees were Ross Blanks, Stuart Burroughs and Richard Squires and it was established on the donation of $50 from Mr S Watling.
The Companion Animal Society (CAS) of the NZVA originally agreed to underwrite the establishment costs of the CAHF. However, a generous donation of the funds remaining following the winding up of Vetmark Auckland meant that these costs were covered without CAS having to make any financial contribution.
Ellanco was an early sponsor of CAHF, along with Masterpet Corp.; Morgan McArthur; and the newly established NZCAC microchipping trust. The first projects were underway at Massey by the year 2000 and often involved anti-microbial resistance work, surgery trials and surveys.
Chris Hutchings became a trustee in the early-mid 2000’s and led CAHF as Chair for the next decade. A number of others whose names are often repeated as industry representatives also served as trustees during this time, including Iain Grant, Pieter Verhoek, Jodi Salinski, Kate Hill, Michelle Parkin, and Fiona Hollinshead.
CAHF always struggled for funds and came close to being wound up around 2010. However CAS saved the foundation by providing substantial annual support for CAHF, as well as giving a significant donation from the profits made from hosting the 2013 WSAVA Conference in Auckland. Visibility amongst the profession was also becoming an issue with many veterinary professionals not aware of CAHF and the work it funded, although Marlborough Vets continued to support the trust with regular donations throughout this time.
Chris stepped down from CAHF in 2015, at the same time Boyd Jones joined as a trustee. Cath Watson also joined as a trustee and took over the role of Chair as Chris departed. There were some significant changes over the following few years, with new trustees enlisted, the Trust Deed updated, new grant categories established, and CAHF eventually rebranded to Healthy Pets New Zealand (HPNZ) in late 2019.
To aid the relaunch, HPNZ engaged Mike Eng as a communications specialist to assist the rebranding process, in a job sharing agreement with NZVA, and then as an independent contractor for a further year. COVID significantly hampered the relaunch, but despite this, new sponsors were attracted, initially with Royal Canin as the Human-Animal Bond grant partner in 2021; followed by PD Insurance as the Principal Partner of HPNZ in 2022. CAV continued to support HPNZ becoming the Research in Practice grant partner.
Grant applications continued to be accepted throughout the changes, with projects covering a wide spectrum of topics applicable to the care of kiwi pets, but now coming from many sources outside of Massey University too, including practitioners in general practice.
Funded grants have included research into the NZVA Hip & Elbow dysplasia schemes (which resulted in CAV deciding to support the PennHip scheme as preferred option); investigating the efficacy of pain medications; the development of novel orthopaedic techniques; new cancer diagnostics and potential treatments; FIV vaccine efficacy; investigations into whether antimicrobial resistance is becoming more widespread in companion animals and what our prescribing patterns are; and many more. In addition, HPNZ has sponsored State of the Art reviews that are published in the NZVJ.
In recent years, additional veterinary clinics across NZ have started to sign up as annual donors, and several other organisations have elected to support the work HPNZ is doing, including SVS Veterinary Supplies; the ANZCVS Small Animal Chapter; Pet Doctors Animal Care Charitable Trust; Boyd Jones; and the estate of Maurice Smith.
In 2021, HPNZ was in a position to be able to meet another of its objectives by providing education in the form of Dogs Day Out, hosted by Invercargill in both 2021 and 2022. It is hoped this event can continue in the future in some larger centers to further raise the profile of HPNZ.