"Treating your pets like our own."
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Dr. Serena Heig

Nick G. and Serena C. Heig

Dr. Serena C. Heig, DVM

Dr. Nick G. Heig, DVM

Dr. Nick was raised in Watertown, SD and received an undergraduate degree in Animal Science at South Dakota State University. He then went on to Iowa State University - College of Veterinary Medicine, graduating in 2002. He received his Master of Business Administration from University of South Dakota in 2010. Dr. Nick enjoys the variety of companion animal medicine with a special interest in preventative medicine and dermatology. He also has a great interest in dentistry and is a member of The American Veterinary Dental Society. He believes in the importance of continuing education because there is always a new way to approach old problems.

Dr. Serena grew up on her family's ranch near Prairie City, SD. She received her undergraduate degree in Animal Science from South Dakota State University. From there, she attended Iowa State University – College of Veterinary Medicine in Ames, Iowa. After graduating in 2003, Dr. Serena began her career in the suburbs of Chicago as an equine practitioner. She then worked for a mixed animal hospital in Pipestone, MN/Flandreau, SD before settling down closer to home in the Black Hills. Dr. Serena enjoys all aspects of veterinary medicine with a special interest in soft tissue surgery, management of endocrine disorders, and physical rehabilitation/arthritis management for her aging patients.

Dr's Nick and Serena were blessed to become part of the Canyon Lake Veterinary Hospital team in August of 2007.

They have welcomed four children into the world: Elli, Hayden, Robert and Jackson. Their furry family members consist of two cats (GB and BG), one dog (Bogart) and several horses. When Dr. Serena is not at work, she loves to spend precious time with her family and some of her hobbies include working with horses, being outdoors, skiing, golfing, photography, drawing, and reading. Dr. Nick loves reading, golfing, and spending time with his family.



Mickie Hortness

Mickie Hortness

Registered Veterinary Technician

Mickie was born in the great state of South Dakota. At 4 years old her family moved to California for the next 8 years. Feeling that South Dakota was a better place to raise children, the family returned to South Dakota when Mickie was 12 years old. Since childhood, books and animals have always been her two great loves. After college graduation Mickie went to work for a major bookstore chain & for the next 12 years she was surrounded by thousands of wonderful books on a daily basis. Mickie also enjoys kayaking and has discovered that archery is fun. But she only does target practice!

How lucky could a person be! After 12 years in the retail business Mickie felt the need for a change. But it didn't make sense to give up one great love unless it was to work in some capacity with her other great love – animals. Mickie returned to school and graduated from the Veterinary Technology program at National American University in 1998. She has been employed at Canyon Lake Veterinary Hospital since 1996. Through her years at Canyon Lake Veterinary Hospital her career has evolved and she has found a niche in the field of wildlife rehabilitation. Mickie manages the wildlife rehabilitation program for the hospital. She enjoys books, movies, music, gardening, baking and the thrill of releasing a creature back to the wild.

Pets: She and her husband, Larry, share their home with one dog, 17 cats, a duck, a goose, 6 doves, 5 aquariums, and various orphaned or injured wild birds and small mammals.



Tami Bremer

Tami Bremer

Practice Manager / Registered Veterinary Technician

Tami was born and raised mostly in Aberdeen, SD, and her first career was as a hair dresser after graduating from Stewarts School of Hairstyling. She moved to Rapid City in 1996.

She was fortunate enough to start working at CLVH while attending National American University and became a full time vet tech upon graduation in 2000. Her role in the clinic has evolved over the years, and she became the Practice Manager in July of 2012. She enjoys working with owners in all aspects of pet health, especially puppy development and training. She is also interested in the technological aspect of veterinary medicine ie: computers, software and various equipment. She has also developed quite an interest in dentistry. As a senior staff member, she brings years of experience to the CLVH team.

Her varied interests outside the veterinary field include scrapbooking/crafts, photography and swimming. Tami also enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter.



Debbie Cooper

Debbie Cooper

Inventory Manager

Debbie was born in Germany and came to the United States when she was 1 year old. While her father was stationed with the military in Germany, he met and married Debbie's mother. After retirement, Debbie's father moved the family to Rapid City where she grew up and graduated from Stevens High School. Debbie worked for years in the retail business, but decided to do something more fulfilling after a total hip replacement in 2000. Because of her love of animals, she decided to go to school at National American University to become a veterinary technician where she graduated with an AAS in 2004.

Debbie's duties at the hospital include front desk client care, ordering supplies and food, as well as supervising inventory management.

When she's not caring for her elderly mother, Debbie plays in the local pool league, volunteers at the YMCA, enjoys working in her garden, and spending time with her boyfriend Link

Pets: Mario, Tinker, and Lucy (cats)



Joanna Carro

Joanna Carro

Vet Assistant / Kennel Technician

Jo is a born and raised South Dakota girl. She started working at CLVH in 2009 as a kennel tech and vet assistant. In her free time Jo likes to play soccer and swim. She plays the piano has a beautiful voice, Jo was in choir all 4 years of High School including All State Choir. After graduation from Steven High School Jo enrolled at Colorado State University and is persuing her dream of becoming a veterinarian. You can see Jo at CLVH during school breaks and the summer.



Dawn Vassalotti

Dawn Vassalotti

Registered Veterinary Technician

Dawn was born in Massachusetts and lived in South Carolina the majority of her life. While visiting her family east river, she fell in love with South Dakota. Dawn graduated from NAU with an Applied Associates Degree in Veterinary Technology in 2011 and passed her Veterinary Technican National Exam in fall of 2011. Dawn has always had a passion to work with animals. Her mother told her "you went from carrying a baby doll to carrying around cats". Dawn enjoys spending most of her free time with her pets. Hondo (English Shepherd), Juno (Lab/Great Pyrenees Mix), Adrian "The Naughty Cat", Daryl "The Foot Warmer", and Canoodle "The Cuddle Bug". She likes to go on hikes, walk/jogs with her dogs, camping, fishing, and training for half marathons.

Dawn has a variety of interests in the veterinary field including feline behavior, dentistry, disaster and emergency preparation, and preventative medicine.