EVC Client shows off baking skills on Netflix show!

At EVC, we know all of our clients are amazing people. But we are continually impressed when we hear of the wonderful things they have achieved!

Tanya Eby has been bringing her dogs, Reggie and Pepper, to Eastown Veterinary Clinic for several years.



“Eastown Vet does a great job of helping us keep them healthy, and we’re really grateful,” Tanya said.

Tanya is a talented writer and audiobook narrator, who also owns Blunder Woman Productions, an indie audiobook publishing company.

But her feats in the kitchen brought her added celebrity, when she appeared on the Netflix series “Nailed It!” The show features struggling bakers facing immensely-challenging cake designs. The results, of course, are hysterical.

Tanya said the idea for applying for the show actually came from her kids.

“My kids and I watched the first season of “Nailed It” and they jokingly said I should apply for it, since it’s for people who aren’t the best at baking,” Tanya said. “I love baking things, and do it just for fun. My son is becoming quite the pastry chef, and my daughter is amazing at decorating. When I make something, they tell me “Good job!” in the same tone that I used to complement their macaroni creations from school. It’s fun when your kids are better at something than you are.”

Tanya applied for the show, filmed baking videos and did casting interviews. She said she was shocked when she was cast for the show.

Tanya flew to Burbank for the show, and said actually being on the show was one of the best experiences she has ever had.

Tanya, during her appearance on “Nailed It!”

“My co-contestants, Lily Orn and Brian Cookstra, were terrific, and we sort of all decided to support each other before filming,” she said. “It was super high stress, exhausting, and a whirlwind. It was also hilarious. And the judges…they’re terrifically funny people.”

Tanya’s challenges included making a fondant animal and baking a cake featuring fondant penguins skiing down a giant mountain.

While her results were hilariously far from the prototype, she did well enough to actually win the episode.

“Humor is so important. It soothes, supports, and somehow magically connects us,” she said. “And it helps to be able to laugh at yourself, especially when you fail so beautifully at something.”

While Tanya will continue to be successful as a writer and narrator, she doesn’t anticipate appearing on any more cooking or baking shows.

“I don’t think they’d let me near Top Chef, unless it was to hold a cue card,” she joked.

To learn more about Tanya Eby, visit her Facebook page at

Dempsey & the Importance of Dental Care

Dempsey & the Importance of Dental Care

Dental care is a priority for most humans. We have our regular dental cleanings, and make sure problem teeth are addressed as soon as possible.

But pet dental health is often left unaddressed. Many pets suffer from dental pain or disease, which can go unnoticed by their owners for many years.

This can be especially true in our senior pets, many of whom have serious dental issues lurking under the surface.  Because many people believe bad breath is normal for senior dogs, this tell-tale sign of underlying issues is commonly left untreated.

But one of our patients, Dempsey, is living proof that senior dogs don’t have to have smelly breath, and that treating dental disease can lead to a happier overall life for dogs.

Dempsey was rescued by EVC client Dawn Highhouse when he was 10 years old. Dawn loves adopting senior dogs, and has brought many of them to EVC.

 “There is something about the old guys that speaks to my heart,” Dawn said. “His photos and piercing gray eyes were striking, but it was his description that won me over.  He was described as being an “old soul,” the kind of dog that calms everyone when he comes into a room.”

But as with many senior pets, Dempsey came to Dawn with some medical issues that needed to be addressed.  Dempsey was bowlegged, seemed stiff when he walked, had a heart murmur, and had a lump on his midsection. Most noticeable, however, was his need for dental care.

“It was hard to tell how bad (his teeth) were because he wouldn’t let me near them, which was a clue in itself, but also his breath was bad enough to knock over a horse,” she said.  “It smelled earthy and rotting. I frequently referred to it as his “goat farm” breath, because it reminded me of a petting zoo in the sun.”

Dawn knew that Dempsey’s bad breath and mass needed to be addressed, so she scheduled an appointment to have him examined at EVC by Dr. Tittle.

“When I get a new fella, I take a few days to get to know him and then I set up a wellness appointment at Eastown,” Dawn said.  I love watching (Dr. Tittle) with dogs; she knows exactly how to get on their level.”

After examining his teeth, Dr. Tittle confirmed Dempsey’s dental disease.

Dental disease is a serious condition that can lead to several other health issues if left untreated. Besides causing loss of teeth, pain and difficulty eating, dental disease can cause damage to the heart and kidneys. Dental disease is graded on a scale of 1-4, with 1 being minimal and 4 being severe. Dempsey’s teeth were a definite grade 4.

There was no doubt Dempsey’s teeth would need to be addressed. Furthermore, the lump on his belly turned out to be a type of tumor that required removal.

Because Dempsey has a heart murmur, special precautions would need to be taken for his surgery.

“The heart murmur made me nervous about putting him under anesthesia,” Dawn said. “But I knew we had to do it. I could tell he was in pain because of those teeth, and the tumor sealed the deal.”

Because of her extensive experience with complicated dental procedures, Dr. Happel was chosen to perform Dempsey’s surgery.

A thorough cleaning was performed on Dempsey’s teeth, which then allowed Dr. Happel to evaluate each tooth for signs of damage or infection.

Dempsey’s teeth before the cleaning

Dempsey’s teeth before the cleaning

Dempsey’s teeth after the cleaning

Dempsey’s teeth after the cleaning

After the procedure, Dr. Happel called Dawn to inform her that Dempsey’s dental disease was so advanced it necessitated the removal of 8 teeth.

While any surgical procedure has its costs, Dawn said she never doubted how badly Dempsey needed the dental, or how great he would feel afterwards.

“It’s expensive and it can feel risky having an older dog under anesthesia,” Dawn said.  “However, if you have ever had a toothache or a cavity, you know why this matters. Our pets put up with chronic pain with such class.”

Besides having better breath, Dempsey’s life improved greatly in other ways after his procedure!

“Without all the pain he regained years of his life,” she said. “Instead of being like John Wayne, he is more of a canine Paul Newman. He plays, he smiles, he runs and prances around my yard. He lets me look at his teeth and now loves to give me kisses. He’s a whole new dog!”


Here’s How Your Donation Makes A Difference

Here’s How Your Donation Makes A Difference

Eastown Veterinary Clinic is excited to be once again spearheading the 2018 Holiday Drive to benefit the Humane Society of West Michigan (HSWM)—so this month we are sharing the story of one of these HSWM animals who found her forever home with EVC’s Exam Assistant, Kristin.

Kristin says when she and her husband decided they wanted a dog, they knew it could only come from one place.

“My now husband and I really wanted to adopt a dog and give it a loving home. So I went after work on a Friday afternoon to the Humane Society of West Michigan because they are a group that I believe in and I really wanted to support their cause.”

While there were many dogs at the shelter, Kristin said she was focused on one in particular: Aspen, a 3-year-old Bluetick Coonhound.

Aspen, the day she was adopted
Aspen, the day she was adopted

“I wanted to adopt Aspen because she looked like she really wanted to receive love, and she seemed like she was so lonely and stressed from all of the barking,” Kristin explains. “I was informed that hounds have a difficult time in shelters or kennels because of their anxiety. I just wanted to give her all of the love I could.”

Aspen was outwardly healthy-looking, but Kristin learned that adopting Aspen would come with many veterinary visits to treat a condition that was hiding under the surface.

“Aspen had heartworm disease when we adopted her,” Kristin reveals.

Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes. Fortunately, it can be prevented by using a heartworm preventive such as Trifexis or Interceptor. Unfortunately for Aspen, her previous owners had not placed her on any preventive.

Treatment for canine heartworm disease is not only costly, but also painful for the dog as it includes injections into the dog’s lower back muscle to kill the heartworms in the circulatory system. Because of the risk of developing blood clots, dogs being treated for heartworm need strict cage rest for 1-2 months.

But this wasn’t enough to deter Kristin from adopting this sweet hound. Aspen was taken home to become a part of the family.


Acclimating Aspen to her new home would prove to be more even challenging than expected, when a second issue became apparent. Aspen suffered from a common, yet difficult behavioral issue: separation anxiety.

When Aspen was with her new family, she was a very happy dog. But as soon as she was left by herself, nothing in the house was safe.
“She would chew, chew, chew and bark, bark, bark,” Kristin says. “She did NOT want to be left alone, which was difficult when we had to go to work.”

Kristin knew she couldn’t give up on her new addition, so she hired a trainer who worked diligently with Aspen.

“Since then, Aspen has become a completely different dog, and has grown tremendously,” Kristin says.

Aspen making a new friend
Aspen making a new friend

Kristin also took Aspen to receive her heartworm treatments, and eventually she was deemed heartworm negative!

It can be a rough road taking on a pet with difficulties like Aspen’s. But Kristin is so happy she did.

“Aspen is probably one of the most loving and silliest dogs,” she says. “I am so thankful for her and she is such a good girl! We receive so many complements about her and how well she does when we bring her to the dog park and other places.”

Aspen and her mom, EVC Exam Assistant Kristin
Aspen and her mom, EVC Exam Assistant Kristin

Kristin has since adopted another rescue animal, and highly recommends opening your home, and your heart, to a pet in need.

“Shelter dogs are so appreciative when they are adopted, and they deserve that second chance!” Kristin says. “I feel that they show their gratitude in so many ways once they know that they are home.”

The HSWM relies on support from the public to care for homeless dogs like Aspen. Eastown Veterinary Clinic will be accepting donations of food, toys and more through December 30, 2018 at the hospital. Click here to see HSWM’s Wish List!

Dobby’s Story

Dobby's Story

Just like people, many pets face adversity. And just like people, animals often depend on the help of others to get through those difficult times. One such pet is Dobby, a 4-year-old Chihuahua who has a new look and a brighter future thanks to her “mom,” Michal, and Eastown Veterinary Clinic.

Michal says she adopted Dobby from Project Hope Rescue in Texas, in March of 2018. “I’ve always been a big dog person, but I saw her picture and fell in love with her.”

What made Dobby’s picture different than others was a severe defect in her jaw. Dobby’s jaw was obviously damaged, with her lower jaw hanging down. While Dobby was born with a defect that gave her an extensive overbite, she also suffered trauma at some point.

“Her jaw was severely fractured when they found her, but they weren’t exactly sure how it happened,” Michal said. “She was really skinny when we first got her. Not sure how long she had been on the streets, but it was obvious that she couldn’t eat well and was pretty much starving.”

Dobby, as she was found by the animal rescue

To correct the damage to her jaw, Dobby was taken by the rescue team to a veterinarian for surgery. A pin was placed in her jaw to help heal the fracture, and several follow-up procedures were performed to correct her jaw.

It was after these surgeries that Michal was able to adopt Dobby, with the understanding that Dobby’s jaw was going to need more work. “We were informed that it would probably be just one more surgery to remove the pin in her jaw, but the pin actually did more damage than it helped.,” Michal says. “She naturally had a pronounced overbite, but the jaw damage was much more extensive than we originally thought.”

Normal jaw x-ray

Dobby’s fractured jaw x-ray

Ultimately, the pin placed in the jaw failed at correcting the problem, and a new solution was needed. Michal brought Dobby to another veterinarian, who then attempted a different procedure, using wires to stabilize the jaw along with the pin.

Michal said she dreaded taking Dobby in for surgeries and would get very stressed a few weeks before each one. “I think my biggest worries were that she wouldn’t make it through the surgery, she wouldn’t recover afterward, or the pain would be unbearable for her if she did,” Michal said. “I also worried that there was some avenue or option that I was missing or hadn’t considered. I just didn’t want to fail her.”

After several failed attempts at fixing Dobby’s jaw, Michal was advised to contact Dr. Lynn Happel, who specializes in complicated veterinary dentistry at Eastown Veterinary Clinic.

Dr. Happel said her first impression of Dobby was that she was adorable. After learning more about what Dobby had gone through, however, Dr. Happel says she began to question whether Dobby’s jaw could be repaired.

“I was skeptical about the ability of the fracture to heal due to the fact that it had been present for months,” she explains. “The rescue vet had put bone pins down the mandibular canals which may have killed the nerve and blood supply to the lower jaw, inhibiting the bone’s ability to heal.

But knowing Dobby deserved a chance at a normal life, Dr. Happel decided to try and repair the jaw. Dobby’s first surgery involved removal of the pins and wires and placement of a jaw splint.

Splint placed on bottom jaw

The splint consisted of dental wires wrapped throughout the jaw to help stabilize the fracture and prevent movement during healing. An acrylic-like material was then placed over the top of the wires, protecting Dobby’s tongue and gums and adding stability to the structure.

Dobby was sent home to recover. Only time would tell whether the splint would work.

Unfortunately Dr. Happel’s fears came true, and due to the extensive damage done during the initial surgeries, the jaw would not be able to heal, despite the use of the splint. Having exhausted all other options, Dr. Happel recommended a mandibulectomy, or removal of the bottom part of the jaw.

Dobby’s profile, after removal of much of the bottom jaw.

“She is very food motivated and both vets felt that she would be a great candidate for the mandibulectomy,” Michal says. “We didn’t have a whole lot of other options. We’d exhausted all the other forms of treatment and this was the last thing we could try.”

As extreme as the procedure sounded, Michal says she was shocked at how quickly Dobby bounced back after the surgery. “She was eating her food (canned) almost normally the same day as pick up.”

Adapting to life without a bottom jaw seems like it would be a challenge, but Michal says Dobby has done great. “Her tongue hangs out more, but that’s about it. I’ve fed her canned food made into a soup from day one, and her overbite has helped her get used to basically lapping up her food, so it wasn’t a great difference.”

While many had given up hope for Dobby’s recovery, Michal and Dr. Happel knew she deserved a chance at a great dog life.

“I’m just really glad we found Dr. Happel,” Michal says. “She cared about what was best for her and went out of her way to keep performing procedure after procedure on her until we could find something that not only worked, but also would give her the best quality of life.”

Dr. Happel says she anticipates a remarkable future for Dobby, thanks to her appetite. “Because she is so food motivated, I think her prognosis is great,” she says.

Michal says Dobby’s life is close to becoming as normal as possible and foresees snuggles, squirrel chases and lots of naps in Dobby’s future. “She’s such a happy little thing and I’m happy that we’ve been able to give her a second chance at life,” Michal says. “I love her.”

Dobby, after recovering from surgery

Dobby and her mom Michal enjoying life together

Eastown’s Newest Doctor Discusses Parasite Prevention

Fall in Michigan means cooler temperatures and more time indoors. But pets still need protection from parasites, which can have a presence year-round! Eastown Veterinary Clinic’s newest veterinarian, Dr. Holly Mincks, took time to answer questions and explain why parasite prevention is so important!

Q: We hear a lot about “monthly preventatives.” What are these, and why do we need them?
A: “Monthly preventatives” are medications that are given to prevent fleas, ticks, heartworms, and the diseases that these pests carry. Many of the heartworm preventatives also treat intestinal parasites too!
It is important to give these medications because fleas and ticks can carry diseases that are very harmful to your pet. Heartworm, in particular, can be deadly if your pet contracts it.
What many pet owners do not always realize is that most flea/tick preventatives do not specifically protect against heartworm disease. There are several products that combine flea/heartworm prevention, such as Trifexis, but many do not. If you are not sure whether the preventative you are giving protects against fleas, ticks, and heartworm, it is a good idea to ask your veterinarian!

Q: How does heartworm preventative work?
A: Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes, so when a mosquito bites a dog or cat with heartworm, it can transfer heartworm to a healthy pet.
Heartworm preventatives are designed to kill the heartworm at a very early larva stage before they have a chance to grow and infest the heart. For this reason, it is important to give heartworm preventatives at the same time each month, to make sure you are killing the heartworm at the larva stage. Heartworm testing can detect heartworm disease from the previous season, which is why we recommend testing for heartworm disease every year.
It is also important to give heartworm prevention year-round, rather than only seasonally. This is a common question I get from many pet owners. Heartworm preventatives work retroactively – meaning they kill infection that your pet has picked up within the previous month. This means that if we were to stop giving heartworm prevention too soon during the year, your pet could still get deadly heartworm disease.

Q: My dog only goes outside to go potty. Does he really need heartworm preventative?
A: Yes! Here at Eastown Veterinary Clinic, we follow the guidelines of the American Heartworm Society, which recommends year-round heartworm prevention for every pet, regardless of their lifestyle.
Anytime your dog is outside, no matter how brief, he or she is susceptible to heartworm disease. Weather in Michigan can often be unpredictable, so it is not always possible to accurately predict when the weather will be “too cold” for mosquitoes!

Q: My cat is indoors only. Why do you recommend heartworm preventative for her?
A: Cats can contract heartworm disease from mosquitoes in the same way that dogs can. Believe it or not, mosquitoes can live in climates as cold as 57 degrees for up to 30 days, including inside your home during the cold winter months!
The heartbreaking truth about feline heartworm disease is that there is currently no approved treatment for heartworm disease in cats! For that reason alone, it is far easier to prevent heartworm disease than to risk your cat’s life.

Q: I only have one cat, and she never goes outside. Why does she need flea preventative?
A: There are many ways for fleas to find a way into your home, even if your cat never goes outside. Fleas can hitch a ride on a dog that goes outdoors, or if you live in an older house, you may have mice in your basement or attic that are also carriers. Fleas can even be brought into the house on your clothing! They love the warm temperatures that a house provides, and it does not take long for an infestation to occur.

Q: I’ve heard flea collars don’t work, but you recommend Seresto collars. What’s the difference?
A: Depending on the type of flea collar, some collars only kill the adult fleas, while others may target the younger stages of fleas. Seresto is unique because it both kills and repels fleas (and ticks!), so it prevents them from biting your pet and transmitting diseases. It lasts for 8 months and is water resistant, so it is very convenient if you live a busy lifestyle.
Additionally, many off-brand or low-quality flea collars can cause skin reactions in some pets, and many cannot guarantee that they will be effective for your pet. For this reason, we recommend only purchasing flea/tick and heartworm prevention from your veterinarian to ensure the product will be safe and effective for your pet.

Q: Preventatives are expensive! Is it worth the money?
A: Absolutely! Let’s take a look at heartworm prevention as an example. The average pet owner pays between $5-15 per month on heartworm prevention. The average cost of treatment for a dog with heartworm is $1000 or more. This means that if you are giving heartworm prevention every month at $5 per month, it will take at least 15 years (longer than the lifespan of most pets) to reach the cost of 1 heartworm treatment!
Fleas, while not as life-threatening as heartworm, can be extremely difficult to get rid of once they have infested your home. If you see a live flea on your pet, that means there are more in your house waiting to hatch! Because fleas like to lay their eggs in carpeting, clothing, and bedding, treatment consists of very diligent housecleaning, along with treating every pet in the home with a topical (applied on the skin) or oral (given by mouth) flea prevention for a minimum of 3 months. This ensures we are killing both the eggs that live in the environment and the adult fleas that jump on your pet! All in all, it is tedious work to get rid of fleas, not to mention hundreds of dollars spent in flea bombs or pest control services for your house.
It is much, much cheaper and easier to prevent the problem than to treat it after it has occurred!

Q: Any final thoughts?
A: If you have any questions about flea, tick, or heartworm preventatives, please ask our friendly, knowledgeable staff! We are always willing to discuss different products and determine what would work best with your pets and lifestyle!

During October, Eastown Veterinary Clinic will be offering savings on parasite preventatives! Save $10 on a year’s supply of Trifexis or Revolution, or $10 off the purchase of both a year’s supply of Interceptor and a year’s supply of Frontline or Nexgard. Call (616) 649-1075 for more information!