For Dr. Martha Mellish, “it’s all horses all the time.”
A member of AVC’s Class of 2005, Dr. Mellish recently joined the Atlantic Veterinary College as an assistant professor in the College’s Ambulatory Equine Service (AES), responsible for teaching veterinary students, and providing veterinary and theriogenology services to AES clients.
Dr. Mellish grew up in New Perth, PEI, where her parents, Ken and Teresa Mellish, operated a dairy farm. After graduating from high school, she attended the pre-veterinary program at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College (NSAC) in Truro, Nova Scotia. She didn’t really think about becoming a veterinarian until, while attending NSAC, she had a meeting with Dr. Wendell Grasse, director of AVC’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital at the time.
“Dr. Grasse inspired me to consider veterinary medicine as a profession,” she said. “I am so glad that I listened to him and became a veterinarian.”
She became interested in large animal medicine while at AVC, but it wasn't until her fourth year that she decided to specialize in equine medicine. Her experience at the VTH and external equine rotations led her to focus on horses, including equine theriogenology. She is board-certified through the American College of Theriogenologists.
Her interest in equine medicine came as no surprise to her family and friends. Horses have been an important part of her life since she was a child. She recently earned her USDF Silver Medal for competing successfully at Prix St. George level in dressage. She is currently riding Fantango NPF, a seven-year-old Dutch Warmblood horse bred for her by her father.
Dr. Mellish said she loved her time as a student at AVC. She felt excited and challenged by the educational program offered, and she enjoyed the close bond formed among her classmates. One major highlight for her was meeting her husband, Dr. Dave McRuer, also a member of the Class of 2005. The two met and began dating when they worked at AVC between their first and second years, and married in 2010.
After graduating from AVC, she completed a year-long internship at a private equine clinic in Virginia. For the next ten years, she worked in private practice in that state, with a six-month stint in Australia when she was between positions. Her husband provided veterinary care to wild animals at the Wildlife Center of Virginia.
When asked what brought her back to AVC, Dr. Mellish said it was a combination of family and the opportunity for professional growth. Her family lives on PEI, and her husband’s in Nova Scotia. Their son Keith, age two-and-a-half, will get to know his grandparents and other family members.
She is looking forward to sharing her knowledge and expertise with students at AVC as they work toward their own careers in veterinary medicine.