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Sydney Animal Behaviour Service - Staff Profiles

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Specialists, Residents, Interns -understanding the difference:

A specialist is a veterinarian who has done many years of extensive study, done research that has been published in peer reviewed journals as well as passed examinations covering a very high level of knowledge. They are recognised not only by fellow veterinarians but also the veterinary registration boards in each State and Territory as having the highest levels of skills and knowledge in their field of expertise.

A resident is a veterinarian who has started on their road to becoming a specialist in a particular area of veterinary medicine. A residency usually takes between 3-5 years of seeing cases under the supervision of a specialist, extensive study and research before they are ready to qualify to sit their examinations to become a specialist.

An intern is a veterinarian who has generally already undertaken additional training in their field of interest. As an intern they are starting on their journey to get further training under the supervision of a specialist in order to equip them to commence further training as a resident.

Our Veterinary Behaviour Specialist:

Dr Kersti SekselDr Kersti Seksel


Registered Veterinary Specialist, Behavioural Medicine

Kersti is fascinated by animals and why they do what they do. She is passionate about helping people understand animals better so she can improve the lives of people and their pets. Kersti has dedicated her life to understanding what makes our pets "tick" and learning about what to do when they do not.

After graduating from Sydney University she worked in the UK and was surprised to learn that more pets died each year because of their behaviour than die of infectious, metabolic and other diseases combined. So she went back to University and started to study behaviour. She obtained a BA in Behavioural Sciences with a major in psychology as well as a Master of Arts (Hons) on her way to becoming the world's only triply boarded specialist in animal behaviour. She is a Fellow of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists in Animal Behaviour, a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviourists and a Diplomate of the European College of Animal Welfare and Behavioural Medicine.

Kersti is the principal of a specialist practice in behavioural medicine in Sydney Australia. She pioneered Puppy Preschool® and Kitten Kindy® classes to help owners and their pets understand each other better so that they can live together in harmony. She teaches the distance education course in Behavioural Medicine for the Centre for Veterinary Education (University of Sydney) and is an adjunct senior lecturer at Charles Sturt University. She has presented at and been the key note speaker at numerous conferences nationally and internationally including USA, UK, many countries in Europe, South Africa, China, Japan, and Thailand. She regularly runs webinars, has written many text book chapters, written a book, Training Your Cat, writes for Dog's Life magazine, and is a consultant on VIN (Veterinary Information Network).

She started her media career as the regular vet on the Midday Show with Ray Martin and continued with other shows on Channel 9 and other channels leading to appearances on shows such as The Project. She has featured in many videos about behaviour. She has been a regular presenter on ABC radio for over a decade, on Tony Delroy's nightlife.

Our Second Year Resident in Behavioural Medicine:

Dr Andrew O'Shea Dr Andrew O'Shea

BVSc MACVS (Veterinary Behaviour) MRCVS

Andrew graduated from University of Sydney with a BVSc in 1987. Over the next thirteen years he gained a wealth of experience in a broad range of species owning and operating a mixed animal practice on the outskirts of South West Sydney. In 2000 he opened a purpose built small animal hospital in Narellan. This crystalized his interest in veterinary behaviour and led to him gaining membership of the Veterinary Behaviour Chapter of the Australian college of Veterinary Scientists in 2008.

Since then he has develop his skill and knowledge growing the veterinary behaviour component of his small animal hospital in Narellan. He has been heavily involved in the Australian Veterinary Behaviour Interest Group a special interest group of the Australian Veterinary Association. He is currently the immediate past president of this group and he is the secretary/treasurer of the Veterinary Behaviour Chapter of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists.

He is the head of the veterinary behaviour service at the University of Sydney. He has presented at the World Veterinary Conference in Cape Town and to veterinarians, senior students, nurses and trainers.

He is undertaking his residency in Behavioural medicine so he can improve the standard of care provided to all pets and to help the profession develop this fascinating and critical field of veterinary medicine.

Our Intern in Behavioural Medicine:

Dr Grace Thurtell Dr Grace Thurtell


Grace graduated from the University of Sydney in 2015 with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science, and has since been working in a small animal practice in Penrith

Before beginning her veterinary degree, Grace worked in various pet industries - boarding kennels, pet shops and veterinary hospitals, to improve her knowledge and skills with animals. During the course of her veterinary degree, Grace worked as a veterinary nurse at Terrey Hills Animal Hospital on the North Shore. Along with this experience, Grace grew up with cats, dogs, guinea pigs, mice, fish etc. and has regularly worked on her father's family sheep and cattle farm outside of Orange NSW.

Grace has always had a special interest in the behaviour of animals, and since graduating has been aiming to further develop her knowledge in this field of veterinary medicine. To start that journey she completed an online Continuing Veterinary Education course in small animal behaviour, run by Dr Jacqui Ley, and most recently attended the weeklong Small Animal Behaviour Conference, run by Dr Kersti Seksel and Dr Sarah Heath.

Grace is now undertaking an internship with SABS to learn from Dr Kersti Seksel, and looks forward to the challenge of achieving her final goal of becoming a specialist in veterinary behavioural medicine.

Our Practice Manager:

Maya de Moura

Maya de Moura

Maya was born in the south of Brazil and moved to Australia in 2013. Back in Brazil she graduated as a veterinarian in 2011 and then completed a postgraduate course conducted by Qualittas Institute in surgery and clinic of small animals two years later. She ran her own practice for 2 years and she always knew that will be working with animals!

In Australia she works as a vet nurse and now at SABS! She is just starting her Delta Institute course to learn more about dogs and behaviour as she loves dogs. Additionally Maya is always blown away by the sea and all marine animals, especially turtles.

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Last modified: May 24, 2017