Buzzy The Cockatiel Turns his Health Around!

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Here at Harrison’s we love all the success stories we get from our clients (and their owners). Today’s post is a very special story about Buzzy the cockatiel, submitted by his owner Jennifer B. from Romulus Michigan.
It’s not uncommon for stressed seed eaters to turn it around quickly once switched to Harrison’s. (for quick “Bird Bread conversion” please visit )
(Photo, courtesy Jennifer B. – Buzzy, before and after)
Here’s what Jennifer had to say…
“Just wanted to share the story of my bird! I adopted Buzzy, a rescued cockatiel, just under a year ago. He’d been kept in overcrowded conditions, and the other birds plucked him relentlessly.
I was told that his feathers probably wouldn’t come back. He’d also been living on an all-seed diet, and it turned out that he had a chronic respiratory infection (which took several trips to the vet and several courses of antibiotics to clear up). I took the photo on the left in April, when he was finally mostly healthy and ready to start a diet conversion. It took a couple months, but by the end of June, he was eating Harrison’s mash as his main food (I mixed Lifetime and HP, because I couldn’t get him to eat the HP on its own. Now he’s on Lifetime only). He also gets a small piece of Harrison’s Bird Bread (made with Sunshine Factor, as recommended by his vet) every day, along with a small amount of veggies and millet for variety.

Since the diet change, he’s grown in lots of new feathers! The pic on the right was just taken a month ago. His neck is still pretty bald, but look at his face! Even better — he seems happy and his blood values are almost normal now. I firmly believe the Harrison’s products have a lot to do with his improvement… so, thank you! 🙂

Buzzy had been a little underweight at 73 grams when I first adopted him, but since the recovery from his illness and the diet change, he’s been steady at 78 grams (which is about right for his size). At his last physical exam, the vet commented on how well-muscled Buzzy is now. Buzzy’s also been singing a lot more, and has been more active in general. He looks forward to his snuggle time every evening, when he gets his Harrison’s Bird Bread. I’m not sure if he’s mostly interested in the snuggles or the bread, though, lol. One more brand new thing – he’s had a bald spot on his right wing, where the long primary feathers are supposed to be, so he hasn’t been able to fly. Well, when I was giving him his shower this morning, I noticed a new feather starting to come in.

Not much is known about his past though, beyond the overcrowded conditions he’d been in. I’m not even sure how old he is (he had X-rays done when he was sick, and the vet said it looked like he might be an older bird, but beyond that, no clue).”

An extra special thanks to Jennifer B. and Buzzy for taking the time out of her day to share their story!

Happy Holidays to all of our feathered friends (and their owners)! – The Harrison’s Team

Harrison’s – The Official Photo Shoot!

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Today’s blog post is a fun quickie, revealing a few “behind the scenes” pics from the very highly anticipated Harrison’s photo shoot.

The photos are the first “official” shots of the newer Harrison’s packaging. Paparazzi was not privy to the secret Nashville shooting location. Look for these photos to hit the street sometime in early 2012!


Reader Response to “What’s the Solution for Abandoned Pet Birds?”

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Special thanks to Christine R. for sharing her response to our inquiry from September when we asked What’s the Solution for Abandoned Pet Birds? in the most recent Avian Examiner.

“I worked in horse welfare for several years.

The problem that I see is that animal welfare organizations have conditioned the American Public to, “rescue & save”. While that is laudable, rescue does NOTHING to change what is causing the problem. Rescue often enables owners, allowing them to be irresponsible.

If you want to change human behavior there has to be a negative consequence. People MUST be held accountable for their actions. In this country we use the Justice System, either criminal or civil, to hold people accountable.

Speaking from experience I can tell you that when the State Police show up at your door to investigate a complaint of cruelty or abandonment, people take notice. When people have to PAY MONEY for something or face the prospect of being convicted of cruelty to animals, their response is vastly different than when a rescue shows up & takes an animal ( ” a problem”), off their hands.

Holding owners accountable is not 100% effective, no approach can claim that. Despite the fact that homicide, rape, robbery, & kidnapping, and a host of other acts are criminal, does not stop people from breaking the law. However, I am certain if law abiding owners, and the majority are law abiding citizens, knew they would be arrested with their name & picture on the evening news, they would think twice.
The above approach though is reactive, which is what policing is. We also need to change society, & THAT is the tough one. People are conditioned from an early age that if they want something, they CAN HAVE IT RIGHT NOW! Where before parents made a child wait before they could own a pet, now if the child wants something, the child gets it.

I strongly believe that before ANYONE takes ownership of an animal, they need to go & work with a reputable professional. Learn what is involved in providing for this animal, understand its needs, & what is involved in the day to day care of the animal.

Education is wonderful, and RESPONSIBLE people WILL educate themselves. The responsible people though are NOT the problem. It is the IRRESPONSIBLE people who are the problem & that is where the police step in because that is the tool we use in is country to hold IRRESPONSIBLE people accountable for their actions.

Animal welfare organizations, along with veterinarians, need to start conditioning/marketing the concept of accountability & responsibility. The American Public needs to stand up and DEMAND that owners be held accountable.

The problem is often, not the law, but enforcement of the law. Often those tasked with enforcement are not suited for enforcement because they are emotional. The investigation of animal cruelty demands personnel trained in law enforcement, with a SPECIALTY in animal cruelty. We need veterinarians and other animal caretakers trained in forensics and the criminal justice system, along with resources.

The amount of money paid in state sales taxes in each state by pet owners on pet related products more than justifies the expenditure of resources to enforce the cruelty law, and passage of legislation if it is proven that the law itself is lacking, and not enforcement that is lacking.

There will always be those who are cruel to animals, but it is about time we started holding them accountable for their cruelty.

Christine R.”

Thanks again to Christine.
We would love to hear from you as well. Please submit your ideas to Dr. Harrison at

The Effects of Mega Agriculture and its Effects on the Health of Animals

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Dr. Greg Harrison presented a very well received lecture on the Effects of Mega Agriculture at the IWRC conference last month and it was so well received that many organizations asked him to send them a link to the presentation so they could share the “message” with their followings.

Below you will find the full presentation and a shorted (6 minute) version for your viewing pleasure and to share as you see fit.

Short version (5+ minutes) of:

What You Need to Know About Mega-agriculture and Its Effects on the Health of Animals Introduction

Full Version (1 hour) of
What You Need to Know About Mega-agriculture and Its Effects on the Health of Animals
Thank you for your commitment to excellence and to making a difference in the lives of companion animals and wildlife!

Zeus the Australian Shepherd tackles illness with HEALx products

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Recently we received this wonderful note from Becky, who works with Dr. Ray at The Avian and Exotics Center of Nashville. Becky was kind enough to share her progress using HEALx Booster in her beautiful Australian Shepard Zeus. Here’s what she had to say…

“I have to also tell you. After my dog was diagnosed with laryngeal paralysis last week, I was worried that he was getting close to the end of his life. Along with using the Soother Spray and Cream, I started him on Booster. Yesterday, I got home from work, expecting the worst, since I didn’t want to leave him for 8 hours with an e-collar on, I wasn’t sure what I would find when I got home. I walked into my bedroom to find him on my bed. He had pushed all the pillows and blankets off the bed, and I haven’t seen him do that for a long time! He was alert and active. We went outside and he started jumping up on me and trotting around the yard. He’s not supposed to get winded, as it brings on respiratory distress and he gets cyanotic. He did not do either. This morning was the first morning I did not give him the tranquilizer, as I have been the past week. He has not had one “attack” since early Saturday morning. He is more active and looks alert and seems happy. I take him for a follow up tomorrow, but I expect his prognosis to be excellent!

I am a true believer in your products. My sister was so impressed by Zeus’s recovery, which we both give credit to your products, that she wants to try her cocker, Jack. He is a fairly young dog, but is allergic to everything and is plagued by skin issues and other health problems. She has a concern that he might be allergic to the Booster, but I feel like he will be okay to try it. I’m going to put my cat who has recently had hair loss and my birds that eat seed that won’t convert yet to a pelleted diet. I cannot tell you how happy I am to see my old dog back!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!” – Becky

Harrison’s would like to thank Becky for sharing her thoughts and we wish Zeus all the best in his recovery from laryngeal paralysis. We would also like to thank Dr. Ray and The Avian and Exotics Center of Nashville for the great job at the recent Nashville Bird Fair helping spread the word about Harrison’s and HEALx/AVIx.

Learn more about HEALx Booster
HEALx Soother Plus Cream
HEALx Soother Spray

A Tribute to Dr. Donald Zantop by Greg J. Harrison

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It is with a mixture of emotions I sit down to write my tribute to a man who left our lives far too soon.

Of course, my first emotion is the sadness and unfairness that “only the good die young.” I am sad for the family loss of a truly wonderful husband and father — such a rarity in our time. We need more men like Don.
Then a smile sweeps over my face as I remember Don always smiled. I never heard him complain — even when we shared the challenges of running a veterinary business.

At a North American Veterinary Conference almost 30 years ago Don heard me talking about making a bird bread for my breeding hyacinth macaws and asked to have some for his clients. From that day forward he was a loyal client of Harrison’s Bird Foods. Just last week I suggested to Tanya (Harrison) that we contact Don to review his client results with the food.

Later we were very pleased when he agreed to abridge the 1394-page Avian Medicine: Principles and Applications textbook to make a softbound version available for broader distribution.

He and Suzanne joined our small touring avian veterinary groups to Costa Rica and Australia, and we all got to spend quality time with them there.

Don loved the ocean – sailing, boating and diving. If there is such a thing a fitting end, then to leave this world doing what he loved is just that.

I will miss you, Don!

– Greg Harrison

Dr. Donald Zantop Remembered

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Donald W. Zantop, D.V.M. (MSU ’76), Diplomate, American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, Certified in Avian Practice, died suddenly on October 13, 2011 off the coast of North Carolina.

Dr. Zantop was a small animal, avian and exotic animal practitioner and co-owner of the Fallston Veterinary Clinic in Fallston, Maryland for 32 years and was active in veterinary organizations. He was a 35-year member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, served as Avian Specialty Exam Chair of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners; President of the Association of Avian Veterinarians, the Mid-Atlantic States Association of Avian Veterinarians, and the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association; served as secretary of the Maryland Veterinary Foundation, and was a member of the Greater Baltimore and Harford County VMAs. Dr. Zantop was published in the Journal of the Association of Avian Veterinarians, served on the editorial board of Exotic DVM Magazine, and abridged the first edition of the text Avian Medicine: Principles and Applications (Ritchie, Harrison, Harrison, 1997) Several times, he was a finalist for the Lafeber “Avian Practitioner Award.”


In Maryland, he offered his services pro bono to Wildlife Rescue, Phoenix Wildlife Rescue, the Carrie Murray Center, and the Patuxent National Wildlife Refuge.

Born in Arlington, Virginia, Dr. Zantop grew up in Michigan. He aspired to a career in veterinary medicine from the age of seven. He was an Eagle Scout and graduated from Allen Park High School, where he met his wife, Suzanne Merlo, whom he married in 1972. Also in 1972, he won the NCAA-College Division silver medal for 3-meter springboard diving for Eastern Michigan University when it won the NCAA – College Division Championship. He subsequently transferred to Michigan State University to attend veterinary school, graduating with high honors.
Dr. Zantop was also an avid sailor on the Chesapeake Bay, in the Caribbean, Belize, and Thailand. As a certified technical scuba diver, he dove regularly in the Bay, on the East Coast, and in Grand Cayman, as well as trips to the Canary Islands, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Florida, Belize, and the Caribbean, frequently hunting for megalodon teeth, scallops, lobster, and historical artifacts.
He and his wife enjoyed travel, including trips throughout the US and Canada and to Brazil, Central America, Europe, and Asia.
He is survived by his wife, Suzanne, and a daughter, Ettienne, both of Fallston; his father, Harold Zantop, of Martinsville, Indiana; his mother, Barbara Wray of O’Brien, Florida; his mother-in-law, Maggie Merlo of Bel Air, and 6 brothers and sisters.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, October 28, at 4 p.m., St. James Episcopal Church, 3100 Monkton Road, Monkton, Maryland. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in his memory to the AAV Research Fund, 90 Madison Street, Suite 403, Denver, Colorado, 80206.

Remembering Donald Zantop, DVM

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It is with great sorrow that we must pass along that our longtime friend, avian veterinary counterpart and client Donald Zantop, DVM has passed away.

Dr. Zantop and his Fallston Veterinary clinic was the very first veterinarian to carry the products of a fledgling Harrison’s Bird Foods all the way back in the mid-1980’s

On Thursday, October 13, 2011 Dr. Zantop, passed away after having a heart attack while diving in North Carolina with his daughter and friends.

Dr. Zantop is survived by his wife Suzanne and his daughter Tia.
He will be missed by many.

A memorial service will conducted on October 28. Please check back with us for further information. Harrison’s plans to share remembrances of our past experiences with Dr. Zantop in the near future.
Condolences may be sent to: Fallston Veterinary Clinic, 2615 Belair Rd., Fallston, MD 21047

The Harrison’s Online Feather Picking Brochure

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Back by popular demand!

One of the most common requests we get is for information in regard to Feather Picking. The Harrison’s team subsequently developed this excellent brochure that covers the varying causes and ways to approach dealing with this very frustrating situation. The brochure is available in .pdf form for printing.
Please feel free to download and share.