For the third year, dvm360 is recognizing industry professionals who are advancing the field and improving the lives of patients, clients, and staff with our Feline Medicine winner, Nicole Martell-Moran, DVM, MPH, DABVP (Feline Practice)
dvm360 is pleased to present the 2023 class of Veterinary Heroes. Nominated by their peers and selected for the recognition by a committee of esteemed veterinary professionals, 15 award recipients were chosen in various veterinary industry roles and specialties in this third annual program.
The Veterinary Heroes recognition program—sponsored by PetSmart Veterinary Services (corporate sponsor) as well as Blue Buffalo Natural, Nocita, TruCan and Trufel, Think Anesthesia, MedVet, Mount Laurel Animal Hospital, Nextmune, and Thrive Pet Healthcare (category sponsors)—celebrates the achievements of outstanding veterinary professionals who are advancing the field and making a difference in animal care. These winners will be honored on Thursday, August 24, 2023, in conjunction with a Fetch dvm360 conference in Kansas City, Missouri.
Make sure to register for Fetch Kansas City if you have not already!
Nicole Martell-Moran, DVM, MPH, DABVP (Feline Practice), has done extensive research on how the long-term adverse effects of declawing can impact cats. And as the director of The Paw Project, Texas division, she educates the public about the painful effects of feline declawing. Martell-Moran expressed feeling bittersweet about her work on declawing. Although it is upsetting to see the harmful effects it has had on cats, she said she’s glad that her work is ultimately aiding in the efforts to put an end to declawing.
How did she get started on this path? “I went to a prevet club meeting just to see what it was all about, and I was hooked from there. That was probably the first year of undergrad in college,” Martell-Moran told dvm360 in an interview. She has been practicing at the Feline Medical Center in Houston, Texas, since 2017.
Martell-Moran received her doctorate in veterinary medicine in 2009 from Michigan State University (MSU) in East Lansing while also earning a master’s degree in public health from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. She became a diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners for feline practice in 2020.
Martell-Moran draws inspiration from the people in her life. “My husband [Ryan Moran] has always inspired me to keep an open mind to the possibilities,” she said. “My mom was always an inspiration for the yearning for more knowledge because she went back to school several times throughout my life to get a higher education. My dad inspired me to just keep showing up and just keep plugging through it. Professionally, I think Jenny Conrad [DVM, founder and director of The Paw Project] and Jim Jensvold [assistant director of The Paw Project] were helpful in inspiring me to just trust my gut, trust [what] I’m seeing. Also, my stepdad [is] a radiologist, and he kind of taught me that it is possible to love your work and it’s OK to love your work,” she said.
Feline medicine, specifically, was interesting for Martell-Moran while in veterinary school because she said she felt that cats were often left behind in the teachings. She attended the American Association of Feline Practitioners student chapter meetings while at school and loved learning through the sessions they presented. “At MSU we did cows and horses and dogs and cats. But cats were left in the dark a little bit, and they were treated like small dogs at that moment in time,” she explained. “I just found it interesting and always had cats, always loved cats. For me, I could understand them a little easier. I love dogs, but [cats’] behavior, body language, and such [were] much more intuitive for me for some reason.”
Martell-Moran was described as a “true cat hero” and a “problem solver” by her nominator. “She loves to do unbiased research…to get to an answer and then she uses that knowledge to educate other veterinarians and to help feline-kind,” wrote her nominator. “Her focus is on how to make the world a better place for cats and their humans.”
Besides veterinary medicine, Martell-Moran enjoys researching her family history, traveling, and gardening.