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Dr. Don J. Harris

Board Member

Dr. Don J. Harris came to Florida in 1980 following his graduation from Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine. Although his Cajun background in the swamps of Louisiana did nothing to prepare him for life in Miami, it did provide for him a wealth of experience in handling wildlife and exotic animals. After several years in mixed animal practice Dr. Harris became so busy with exotics that he felt he was unable to devote appropriate time to dogs and cats. His practice became exclusively avian and exotic in 1990, and he opened South Florida’s first exotics-only veterinary hospital, Avian & Exotic Animal Medical Center, in 1996.
A major factor that allows Dr. Harris’s hospital to excel in exotic pet care is the extensive professional network that Dr. Harris has established with international leaders in exotic animal medicine. Avian & Exotic serves as a throughput between the hospital’s clients and the worldwide authorities on practically any situation involving exotic pets.

The quality of Dr. Harris’ practice is reflected in his international reputation. He receives numerous invitations to speak at veterinary conferences both locally and internationally every year. He has received many commendations over the years from various institutions and associations. He served as president of the South Florida Veterinary Medical Association, president of the worldwide Association of Avian Veterinarians, and president of the North American Veterinary Conference, the largest veterinary conference in the world. Additionally, his clinical experiences have been featured on major television networks including NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, Animal Planet, and Nat Geo. One special case even made it as far as the cover of the National Enquirer.

Beyond his veterinary career, Dr. Harris has various other interests including, (but not limited to), fishing, sailing, skydiving, snowboarding, music, and, most importantly, his children. Being a father is Dr. Harris’s most serious commitment. Meredith and her husband Jamie live in Austin, Texas with their sons, Nash and Watt, where they are successfully navigating the commercial real estate world. One thing that sets Meredith apart from most: she is entirely a self-made woman. Her success is her own doing, and all Dr. Harris can do is sit back and thank God for such a blessing. Adam is Dr. Harris math & musical prodigy. While fishing, camping, surfing, snowboarding and skydiving are activities that the guys enthusiastically share, music is Adam’s greatest passion.  After getting a degree in business, he is now pursuing a degree in Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder.  His goal is to use his knowledge of math, music, and business to maximize his occupational options.  Adam had his own highly successful Honey farming business at age 8; maybe at age 28 he’ll be giving Elon Musk a run for his money.  Like Meredith, Adam’s sheer determination will get where he ultimately wants to be.

Music is also a passion of Dr. Harris. His guitar, vocal, and video production skills allowed him to assemble and perform a tribute to September 11, which was featured as an opening performance for first “Huey Lewis and the News”, then “Trisha Yearwood”. These performances became the inspiration for the all-veterinarian band, “Projectile”, which Dr. Harris founded in 2003. Projectile’s performances include openings for the legendary “Chicago”, “Hootie and the Blowfish”, “Clint Black”, and “REO Speedwagon”, in addition to several headliner appearances.   Now it’s occasional; in August Dr. H performed “Shallow” at the opening of the American Veterinary Medical Association annual meeting in Washington, DC.

Ultimately, Dr. Harris is a dedicated individual. He cares as much about his clients as he does his patients. He devotes himself 110% to anything and everything he takes responsibility for. Clients rest assured that nothing will be spared when Dr. Harris cares for their beloved pets.

U.S. Operations Manager, Improve International, 2018-present
Advisory Board, American Veterinarian, 2018-present
U.S. Coordinator, Improve International, 2016-2018
Medical Advisor, Zoological Wildlife Foundation, 2016-present
Vice-President, Toscano HMO, 2015-2018
Speaker of the Year, Association of Avian Veterinarians, 2014
Medical Consultant, Georgia Aquarium, 2012-present
Past-President, Eastern States Veterinary Association, 2009-infinity
Consultant & Participant, Animal Planet, Animal Cops Miami, 2009-present
Multiple featured episodes, Animal Planet, 2000-present
Georgia Aquarium Research Center, consultant, 2005-present
Advisory Board, Abaxis Veterinary Diagnostics, 2003-present
President, Eastern States Veterinary Association, (Organizers of the North American Veterinary Conference), 2008
President-Elect, Eastern States Veterinary Association, 2007
Vice-President, Eastern States Veterinary Association, 2006
Advisory Board, Ft. Lauderdale Wildlife Care Center, 2003-present
Medical Director, Broadbent Gardens, KY, 2001-present
Director, Eastern States Veterinary Association, (Organizers of the North American Veterinary Conference), 2000-2006
Charter President, Pinecrest Business Association, 1999-2001
Speaker of the Year, Exotics; North American Veterinary Conference, 1997
Program Chair, Avian & Exotic Animals, North American Veterinary Conference; Orlando, FL, 1995-2001
Avian Lab Coordinator, North American Veterinary Conference, 1994-2003
Session Chair, Avian, North American Veterinary Conference; Orlando, FL, 1992-95
President, South Florida Veterinary Medical Association, October 1993 – December 1994
President, International Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV) 1991-1992
Member, Board of Directors, South Florida Veterinary Medical Association; Miami, Florida 1990-1992
Conference Chairman, AAV Annual International Conference; Chicago, Illinois, 1991
Consulting Veterinarian, Jungle Island; Miami, FL, 1990- present
Review Board, Journal of the AAV, 1990-2006
Member, Board of Directors, AAV, 1988-1990
Chairman, Stewardship Funding, AAV, 1988-1990
Chairman, Autotutorial Committee, AAV, 1987-1990
Conference Practical Lab Coordinator, AAV, 1986-1990
Outstanding Service Award, AAV, 1986
Local Labs Chairman, AAV International Conference; Miami, Florida 1986
Consulting Veterinarian; Miami Seaquarium, Miami, FL, 1985-present
Consulting Veterinarian, Miami Metrozoo; Miami, FL, 1983-present
Staff Veterinarian, Jungle Island; Miami, FL, 1983-1990
Regular contributor to several professional and lay publications
Frequent speaker at Local, Regional, National, & International Veterinary Medical Conferences


GREATEST BLESSINGS TO DATE: Meredith; daughter and Adam; son

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