Dr Joanna McLachlan

B.VSc.(Hons1) MANZCVS(Veterinary Behaviour) PgCert.VetConsMed.
Senior Behaviour Veterinarian, Director and Practice Owner

Photo: Hammill Photography

Owner and founder of Pet Behaviour Vet, Dr Joanna McLachlan is a fully qualified veterinarian with extensive training and experience in the field of veterinary behavioural medicine.

Dr Joanna is available for behaviour consultations on Monday to Friday. When she is not out on a house-call or performing a phone consultation, she is found at our head office writing reports, performing seminars for vet practices, running the business and training staff.

Early Interest in Behavioural Medicine

Dr Joanna discovered that she had an interest in veterinary behavioural medicine the hard way- when her two beloved pet dogs Rocky and Lexie began exhibiting serious behavioural problems. So of course she immersed herself in self-study, attending conferences and buying all the latest behaviour textbooks, looking for a ‘cure’ for their condition. She soon discovered that she had a real interest in the field and began taking on as many behaviour cases as possible where she worked as a GP veterinarian.

She very quickly came to the realisation that performing a behaviour consultation to the best of her ability was next to impossible under the logistical constraints of working in a very busy veterinary clinic. This led to the establishment of her own private behaviour consultancy Pet Behaviour Vet, which gave her the freedom to see her patients with minimal time constraints in the privacy of their own home (where most behaviour problems manifest), without having to attempt to squeeze the consultation into a 15 minute time slot at a veterinary clinic.

Qualifications and Experience

Dr Joanna completed a Bachelor of Veterinary Science with first class Honours at the University of Sydney, and is a registered Veterinarian with the Veterinary Practitioners Board of NSW. After graduation she began working as a small animal veterinarian at a very busy group of veterinary clinics in western Sydney, and then moved on to locum at a number of practices in Sydney and northern Illawarra.

In 2014 Dr Joanna was awarded a Membership (by examination) of the Behaviour Chapter of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists. This means that she has proven by examination to be highly knowledgeable in the field of veterinary behavioural medicine.

Since Dr Joanna spends 100% of her professional time working on behaviour cases, she has had much more experience working in the field compared to most other vets, even those with similar qualifications.

Continuing Professional Education

Veterinary behavioural medicine is an ever-evolving field, with current recommendations becoming rapidly superseded by even newer and more exciting research. Thus, behaviour professionals need to keep themselves immersed in continuing education in order to stay up to date with the latest in scientific recommendations for the good of their patients.

Dr Joanna regularly attends veterinary and animal training conferences all over Australia where she has attended numerous lectures given by internationally renowned trainers, veterinary behaviourists and veterinary behaviour specialists. Some conferences and lectures to note include:

  • the 3-day behaviour stream of Science Week in July 2021
  • the 3-day Delta Institute Dog Behaviour Conference in 2019
  • the 3-day Pet Professionals Guild annual summit in 2018
  • the behaviour stream of the Australian Veterinary Association’s 5-day annual conference in 2017 (which she helped to organise!)
  • Vetprac’s 2- day Safe Animal Handling and Behaviour Workshop in April 2016
  • the AVBIG Behaviour Roadshow in 2015
  • the 3-day behaviour stream of Science Week in July 2014
  • the 5-day behaviour stream of the AVA’s annual conference in 2011

Dr Joanna attends roughly 4 online veterinary behaviour webinars per year- there are too many to list! She also participated in Dr Kersti Seksel’s year-long distance education course in Behavioural Medicine in 2013. Additionally, she has spent some time seeing practice with other experienced behaviour veterinarians and subscribes to the monthly Journal of Veterinary Behaviour.

Dr Joanna is an active member of the Australian Veterinary Association and the Australian Veterinary Behaviour Interest Group. She spent 3 years as an executive on the AVBIG committee and the moderator of the Group’s discussion forum. Dr Joanna also founded and facilitates a very active international online behavioural medicine discussion group exclusive to veterinarians with over 1700 members, as well as a group that is open to the general public called ‘Anxious Cats of Australia’. She is also an admin of the ‘Complicated Canines of Australia’ Facebook group, which we recommend to all complicated canine parents!

Other Interests

Dr Joanna also has an interest in Zoo and Wildlife Medicine and has completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Veterinary Conservation Medicine through Murdoch University. Over the years she has carried out voluntary work at numerous zoos around the world including Taronga Zoo, Melbourne Zoo and the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari. It is her dream to join her two professional interests by offering her behaviour services to zoological and wildlife institutions.

When she is not running the practice, Dr Joanna is most likely at home looking after her family in southern Sydney. She lives with her husband and two young children. She is a big foodie and so loves eating great food (probably too much!), experimenting in the kitchen, reading nerdy vet books and the occasional Douglas Adams novel, drinking amazing coffee, binge-watching sci-fi and fantasy shows on Netflix (when the kids finally go to bed), and participating in activities at her local church.

We are looking for another vet!

Do you know anyone who has similar qualifications to Dr Joanna above? We are looking for a part-time or casual vet to help us out with our busy caseload.

Please email us with your expression of interest for more information on manager@petbehaviourvet.com.au