Behavioural Medicine | Centre for Veterinary Education

Behavioural Medicine

Behavioural Medicine

Behaviour problem or problem behaviour? Learn to differentiate and maximise treatment success.

Improve your ability to help your clients better understand their pets’ behaviour and learn to best manage anxiety, aggression and other common behavioural problems. Discover the latest updates in behavioural pharmacology – the when, why and which of medications.

A knowledge of behaviour is integral in maximising patient welfare. A positive experience in your practice for both patient and client will enhance satisfaction all round!

Kersti talks more about the course:

Past Participant:

'I have been able to able so much of what I have learnt to every day consultations. My clients are loving it and I love being able to help the animals.' 

Carla Goldman, McGraths Hill Veterinary Centre​

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, you will:

  • Significantly improve your ability to help your clients better understand their pet’s behaviour

  • Further your understanding of the basics of behaviour and the intimate relationship between behaviour and organic disease

  • Develop your skills in differentiating behaviour problems from problem behaviours to maximise treatment success

  • Learn how to more accurately diagnose behavioural problems in most domestic species

  • Improve your knowledge of psychotropic medication used to treat behavioural problems, including when to use medication, which medication to use and why

  • Interact with other veterinarians who have similar interests in behavioural medicine


  1. Domestication and Genetics – understand what processes are involved in the behaviour of animals

  2. Learning Theory 1 – appreciate the science behind how animals learn

  3. Learning Theory 2 – apply the science every day in your interactions with animals

  4. Neurology – discover more about the brain and behaviour and what makes animals tick

  5. Psychotropic Medication 1 – learn about the common medications that help animals with mental health issues

  6. Psychotropic Medication 2 – find out more about how medication can help your patients

  7. Behavioural History – become more comfortable with diagnosing and implementing a treatment program for your patients

  8. Anxiety Disorders – learn why they are so debilitating and affect the life expectancy of your patients

  9. Aggression Issues – gain knowledge to safely and appropriately manage patients showing aggressive behaviours

  10. Other common problems – increase your ability to deal with an assortment of behaviours that bother owners

Course Delivery

This online course comes with:

  • Comprehensive notes; images; journal articles and additional readings  

  • Self-reflection tasks to review your current knowledge and focus on the topic at hand

  • A discussion forum and webinars for conversation, debate and sharing cases with your peers and tutors

  • A monthly assignment to assess your understanding of each topic. Individual feedback and explanations will be provided by your tutors

  • A 1 day workshop at the start of the course and a 2 day practical workshop towards the end of the course to work through case studies and major problems areas as a group

  • Keeping DE notes in digital format saves almost 300 000 sheets of paper, 1 500 000L of water and 30 trees.

Pay as you learn

Choosing your DE course is a big commitment, so there’s no need to add further stress by paying your course up front. To pay as you learn, you will need a $1,000 deposit to secure your place, followed by 50% of the total course fee 10 days prior to course commencement date. We’ll arrange simple monthly direct debits from your credit card over 3 or 6 months.

Note: Payment Plan will incur an additional $250 administration fee, and Early Bird rates do not apply if you choose the payment plan option.

Distance Education

Saturday 1 February - Monday 30 November 2020
2-Day Workshop (Melbourne 17-18 OCT 2020)
1-Day Workshop (Sydney 27 MAR 2020)
Delivered Online
Super Early Bird
30 June 2019
Early Bird
31 October 2019



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.


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 (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(Hons), MVS, MANZCVS(SA Medicine, Vet Behaviour)

Isabelle graduated from the University of Sydney in 1991 and has worked in small animal practice since then. She completed a Master of Veterinary Studies through Murdoch University in 2001 and passed Membership examinations in Small Animal Medicine in the same year. She developed an interest in veterinary behaviour due, in part, to the behaviour problems of her own dog. She has completed the Distance Education in Veterinary behaviour and passed membership examinations in Veterinary Behaviour in 2016. She has been an examiner for the ANZCVS for the last 3 years and is an active AVBIG committee member. She is passionate about filling the behavioural void in general practice and helping our pets have a better quality of life – not just physically but also mentally.

BVSc MANZCVS (Veterinary Behaviour)

Sally graduated with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science from the University of Melbourne in 2000 and became a Member of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in Veterinary Behaviour in 2013. She has been an active member of the Australian Veterinary Behaviour Interest Group since 2014 and is President for the Veterinary Behavour chapter of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists from 2020-2022.

Sally is a Resident in behavioural medicine for both the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists and the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. She has her own practice in Northeast Victoria as well as consulting for the US based Veterinary Information Network (VIN). Sally loves that behavioural medicine encourages a compassionate approach to the needs of individual animals by drawing on evidence from various fields of scientific study.

Course Fees

Member TypeSuper early birdEarly birdFull rate
Non-member / eMember$6430$6730$6930
*Members include: Practice, Professional, Part-time, Recent Graduate, Academic and Student members

Loyalty DE Discount: Completed 2 or more Distance Education (DE) courses in the previous 5 years, you are eligible for a 10% discount on future DE courses. Discounts are not cumulative. For further information about discount options for multiple registrations at the one event, please read the full Terms & Conditions. To redeem your discount contact the CVE on +61 2 9351 7979 (Monday to Friday, AEST 9am to 5pm) or


Note: Enrol in a Distance Education course and pay in full before 31 October 2019 to save up to $250 and go in the draw to win a $1,000 CVE voucher. Winner announced 8 November 2019.