Professor Danièlle A Gunn-Moore, BSc BVM&S PhD FHEA MACVSc MRCVS, RCVS Specialist in Feline Medicine, talks about her career.
The Making of a Professor in Feline Medicine
I must start this little career summary by offering the University of Edinburgh and the Feline Advisory Bureau (FAB) a huge "thank you". Without them I would never have been able to realise my childhood dream of becoming a cat vet (something that simply did not exist in those days).
I was offered a place at the University of Edinburgh to study veterinary medicine and surgery, which I started in 1985. That is when I first found out about FAB.
I was fascinated by the FAB Bulletin, and contacted Tim Gruffydd-Jones to find out more about the charity. He was so enthusiastic and passionate about cats that I realised that by joining his team I might actually be able to dedicate my life to feline medicine.
After qualifying as a vet (BVM&S with Distinction) and spending a year in small animal practice to consolidate my training I joined Tim’s Feline Team at the University of Bristol, initially as the FAB Scholar and then the Duphar Feline Fellow.
I followed this with a PhD study into Feline Infectious Peritonitis, a terrible disease that I had seen kill so many beautiful pedigree kittens. I then spent a short period as Lecturer in Veterinary Pathology at the University of Bristol,after which I returned to the University of Edinburgh, initially as Lecturer in Feline Medicine, to establish a Feline Clinic.
The Feline Clinic
My post was initially supported by Nestlé Purina, and the FAB supported my residents (Penney Barber, Michiel Krajier, Nicki Reed and then Anita Schwartz) and lecturers (Penney Barber, then Kerry Simpson).
I was lucky enough to be awarded the Royal Collage of Veterinary Surgeons Specialist Status in Feline Medicine in 2002. At that time there were only two other people who had gained this distinction: Tim Gruffydd-Jones and Andy Sparkes.
Now there are nine people in this select group, including Sarah Caney, Martha Cannon, Penney Barber, Severine Tasker, Rachel Dean and Andrea Harvey, and every single one of us has been an FAB Scholar!
I am now the Professor of Feline Medicine and Head of Companion Animal Science at the University of Edinburgh and am privileged to work with a wonderful group of people whose sole aim is to try to improve the health and welfare of cats, dogs and other companion animals.
I have never lost my interest in all things feline and have been fortunate to have been invited to lecture all over the world on many different aspects of feline medicine. However, I do also like to spend time at home, which I share with my husband Frank and two beautiful cats; a 10 year old Bengal girl called Teninich and five year old Maine Coon boy called Mortlach (both named after Scottish single malt whiskies).
I will happily continue to do everything I can for the University of Edinburgh and the FAB, as without them I would not have been able to achieve my childhood goal of becoming a cat vet and would not have been able to spend my career doing what I love.
Giving something back
So far I have only been able to pay back just a little of the amazing support that the University of Edinburgh and the FAB has given me over more than 20 years. I have organised many University and FAB Study Days and have given and continue to give many talks and lectures where I always acknowledge both of these organisations.
In addition to my many University commitments I also sit on the FAB Trustees Committee, Chair the FAB Breeders Group, and sit on the European Society of Feline Medicine executive committee.
I will happily continue to do everything I can for the University of Edinburgh and the FAB, as without them I would not have been able to achieve my childhood goal of becoming a cat vet and would not have been able to spend my career doing what I love: working with cats and feline-focused people, trying to help cats health and welfare, and teaching the current and next generation of veterinary surgeons.