Small Animal Behavioural Medicine Conference | Centre for Veterinary Education

Small Animal Behavioural Medicine Conference

When your clients visit your practice, what is the first thing they want to know? Do they want to know why their pet does what it does? Is your answer based on the latest science or do you simply wing it?

Sarah Heath, Kersti Seksel and other specialists in behaviour will present a week-long course with specialists in neurology (Georgina Child), dermatology (Greg Burton) and ophthalmology (Cameron Whittaker). Learn how behaviour is part of everything you do in every consult. The conference will cover the shelter perspective, the welfare perspective and the training perspective, as well as grief over the loss of a pet, the fear free initiative, and much, much more.

Learn how to conduct behaviour consultations and gain practical personal experience from the experts.

This exciting and comprehensive 4-day program will cover the latest advances in behavioural medicine, followed by a 1-day interactive Masterclass full of detailed case studies and controversies. 

This conference has something for everyone – from the recent graduate, to GP vets and those with more advanced knowledge in behavioural medicine. It will provide you with the latest information from outstanding speakers.



Monday 20 - Thursday 23 February 2017
Friday 24 February 2017
8.30 - 5.00
Early Bird
9 January 2017
Veterinary Science Conference Centre
Regimental Drive
Camperdown NSW



Sarah qualified as a veterinary surgeon from Bristol University in 1988 and spent four years in a mixed general practice before setting up Behavioural Referrals Veterinary Practice in 1992. In 2002 she became a Founding Diplomate of the European College of Animal Welfare and Behavioural Medicine and served as the second President of that College from 2003 to 2008. She is a European Veterinary Specialist in Behavioural Medicine (Companion Animals).

She is an honorary lecturer in Behavioural Medicine within the faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Liverpool and responsible for the behavioural medicine curriculum for undergraduate veterinary students. In addition to her clinical and teaching work Sarah has written a number of books and regularly contributes to veterinary publications on behavioural topics. 


Kersti Seksel graduated in Veterinary Science from the University of Sydney, then from Macquarie University with a BA in Behavioural Sciences majoring in psychology. She has an MA(Hons) degree and is a registered veterinary specialist in Animal Behaviour, a Fellow of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists in Animal Behaviour, a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, and a Diplomate of the European College of Animal Welfare and Behavioural Medicine. She is an adjunct senior lecturer at Charles Sturt University and a honorary associate at the University of Sydney. Kersti is the principal of a specialist practice for animal behaviour in Sydney and see cases around Australia. She is chair of the NSW Animal Welfare Advisory Council, a Board member of Delta Society and a member of the Special Council of the Pet Professional Guild Australia. She has presented at multiple conferences and meetings nationally and internationally and has published widely. She is a regular presenter on ABC radio in Australia on pet care and behaviour, writes for Dog's Life and is also a consultant to VIN. Kersti is the author and tutor for the CVE DE course in Behavioural Medicine.

BVSc (Hons) MANZCVSc (SA Surgery) FANZCVSc (Dermatology)

Greg Burton spent 10 years in small animal practice in Melbourne before completing a 3 year residency in dermatology in 1997. He obtained a Fellowship and specialist registration in veterinary dermatology in 1997, and since then has been in referral dermatology practice in Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide. Greg is currently at the Melbourne Veterinary Referral Centre and University of Melbourne Veterinary Hospital. Since 2002, he has been the Principle Fellow in Dermatology at the University of Melbourne.


Debbie obtained her veterinary degree from Murdoch University in 1985 and became a Member of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in Animal Behaviour in 1997. She was a founding member of the Australian Veterinary Behaviour Interest Group and has held several committee positions including President.

Debbie developed an interest in grief and loss issues as they relate to veterinary behaviour practice. She completed the Bereavement Counselling Methods Course with the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement in 2008 and obtained a Certificate IV in Telephone Counselling in 2011. She sees cases and provides educational opportunities via her Behaviour Counselling Service. She is also a Consultant on the US based Veterinary Information Network (VIN). Debbie is passionate about promoting the importance of behavioural medicine within the veterinary profession and the role education plays in fostering the human-animal bond.

BVSc DACVIM (Neurology)

Dr Georgina Child is a registered specialist in veterinary neurology and has 30 years of experience in assessing neurologic cases that can range from the simple to the complex. Dr Child is not only extremely talented but is compassionate and understanding and is well known throughout Australia for her excellent management of patients with difficult neurologic problems. She is also involved in continuing Education programs for Veterinarians and in teaching veterinary students at the University of Sydney. Her epileptic Border Collie and fearless Cavalier keep her accountable.

BVSc (Hons) FANZCVS (Animal Behaviour) CMAVA PhD

Jacqui Ley is a registered specialist in Behavioural Medicine. She graduated from Melbourne University Veterinary School in 1995. A long time interest in animals, animal behaviour and training led her to undertake a Membership to the ACVSc in Veterinary Behaviour in 2000. Looking to understand more about behaviour, she left small animal practice for the world of research and investigated tests for measuring fear in dogs. Jacqui has completed a PhD at Monash University developing a model and questionnaire for describing canine personality.

BVSc MACVSc (Behaviour) PhD DipEd BEd Studies

Gaille graduated from University of Queensland and then worked in mixed practice for 10 years, as well as breeding, training and showing Border Collies, Old English Sheepdogs and Arabian horses. She returned to university to complete a Diploma of Education then a Bachelor of Educational Studies.  Her lifelong interest in animal behaviour led to a membership of the College of Veterinary Scientists in 1993 and a PhD in animal behaviour at UQ with Assoc. Prof. Judith Bradshaw in 1999.

For 26 years Gaille was a principal teacher at Brisbane North Institute of TAFE, retiring from that position in 2011 to pursue her other interests.  She continues as Director of Studies for the Delta Instructors Course, consultant at Sydney Animal Behaviour Service and to the RSPCA Queensland.  She is currently completing a project for the RSPCA to produce a national dog training course.

Gaille was the inaugural secretary for the Behaviour Chapter of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists and AVBIG, the Australian Veterinary Behaviour Interest Group, and retains membership of both groups. She regularly speaks at local, national and international behaviour conferences. 

CertIV Companion Animal Services

Natalie Watson has a background in IT, training and education and providing tutoring services for young adults with learning difficulties. Natalie started out working with shelter animals on a volunteer basis in 1996. She has a passion for reducing the number of dogs with anxiety disorders that end up in rescue shelters or living in home environments they find too difficult. This passion led her to led her to complete her Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services with the Delta Society in 2007 and Dr Susan Friedman’s Living and Learning with Animals Certificate in 2013. She has been running her own business “What A Dog Needs” since 2004 and has strong interests in both dog and cat behaviour, as well as the care and support of senior animals and pain management.  

Natalie is an Assessor for the Delta Therapy Dogs Program and is a qualified Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Instructor and Assessor. She is a member of the Association of Animal Behaviour Professionals (AABP), the Delta Institute and the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT). Natalie currently lives in Sydney with her husband John and their beautiful dog Summer. 


Cameron graduated from Sydney University in 1989. After some time in mixed animal practice he completed an internship at Sydney University in 1992 and the following year commenced a residency in Veterinary Ophthalmology at the University of Florida, being granted Diplomate status of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists in 1996. He then worked at the Ohio State University as a visiting Assistant Professor before returning to Australia in 1997 to join Eye Clinic for Animals, providing specialist ophthalmology services for both small and large animals in Sydney and regional areas of NSW. Cameron has served on the NSW Division of the AVA and currently provides medicine and surgery lectures and practical sessions to University of Sydney students. He voluntarily provides services to wildlife at both Sydney and Western Plains Zoos. Cameron has special interests in cataract surgery, glaucoma, corneal medicine and surgery, retinal surgery and exotic animal ophthalmology. He has been on the Editorial Board for Veterinary Ophthalmology for many years, has been a contributing author in 3 text books and has over a dozen papers in internationally refereed journals.

BVSc GradCertMgmt MANZCVS (Animal Welfare)

Mags has a graduate degree in Veterinary Professional Practice Management, and Membership of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in the Animal Welfare Chapter. She started with the RSPCA in 1996 after developing an interest in shelter /population medicine, an area of veterinary medicine that focuses on infectious disease prevention and treatment, stress reduction and behavioural management of companion animals in a shelter setting and was Chief Veterinarian at RSPCA NSW from 2008-2015. She was involved in the establishment of the RSPCA’s Pets of Older Persons Program (POOPS), Community Animal Welfare Scheme (CAWS) and the Indigenous Dog Health Programs in NSW.

She is currently the Chief Veterinary Officer for Petsure (Australia), which encompasses four veterinary clinics and one outpatient clinic in NSW, and over 100 staff including vets, vet nurses, behavioural vets and trainers as well as community outreach staff. Mags sits on the Animal Research and Review Panel NSW and is a member of an UNSW Animal Ethics Committee.

Course fees
Special registration typeFull rateFull rate
Vet Nurse$1,048$328

Course Fees

*Member includes: Practice, Professional and Academic members

You may be eligible for a 10% discount off your registration. Please read the full Terms & Conditions to see if you are eligible.

For this conference we are offering a special 50% discount off the non-member price exclusively for Vet Nurses for the full conference (excluding masterclass) and the single day. To take up these offers please contact the CVE team on 02 9351 7979 or email us at 


International keynote speaker sponsor
Silver Sponsor

Further details

Have a question? Your answer could be on our frequently asked questions page. If you cannot find an answer for your question, please email us or call us on +61 2 9351 7979.