Dr. Donald Zantop Remembered

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.

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