The team at Summer Street Animal Clinic is comprised of highly trained and experienced animal health professionals who have a genuine love for working with pets.

Our staff treats every patient with the highest quality of medical care as well as a gentle touch.


merlin_bwDr. Merlin Van Zee, Veterinarian/Owner

Dr. Merlin Van Zee graduated with distinction from Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine in May of 2003.

After receiving his degree, Dr. Van Zee moved to Burlington and began to practice at Summer Street Animal Clinic, where his professional interests include surgery – both orthopedic and soft tissue, anesthesia and pain control.

Dr. Van Zee is a native of Pella, Iowa, who completed his undergraduate work at Iowa State University studying Animal Science.

Dr. Van Zee and his wife, Magon, have 3 children, Ty, Meadow and Amos. Their family has a Golden Retriever named Violet two cats, “Sammich” and “Scribbles.”

Outside of practice, Dr. Van Zee enjoys outdoor activities, motorcycling, Cyclones athletics and tinkering in his shop.

Dr. Van Zee also takes great joy in spending time with his family and church activities as well as being a member of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce.

heath_bwDr. Heath Hillyard, Veterinarian/Owner

Dr. Heath Hillyard is a local native of the Mediapolis area who received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Simpson College in 1999 in Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics.

Dr. Hillyard then went on to Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine and graduated with his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in May 2003. While at Iowa State University, he pursued a degree in Entrepreneurship as well.

Professional interests include internal medicine, reproduction, soft tissue surgery, dentistry, and dermatology.

Dr. Hillyard and his wife, Miranda, currently reside in Burlington with their daughters, Harlynn and Harbor. They also have 2 dogs; a Dachshund named Yadi and a Morkie-Poo named Mecca. His personal interests include spending time with his family, all outdoor sports, snow skiing, bicycling, spending time in the Lake of the Ozarks, and traveling.

He enjoys following Hawkeye athletics throughout the year. He is also active in the Burlington Kiwanis Club, Great River Connections, and the Chamber of Commerce.

Becky-BWDr. Becky Gibilisco, Veterinarian

Dr. Gibilisco graduated with honors from Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in May of 2012. She also received her bachelor’s degree in Animal Science at Iowa State.

After graduating veterinary school, Dr. Gibilisco practiced small animal medicine in Naperville, Illinois before she and her husband decided to move back to Iowa in April 2013.

Her professional interests include soft tissue surgery, diagnostic imaging and dentistry.

Dr. Gibilisco is a native of Oakland, Iowa. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Nathan, and their children, Toby and Edie; being outdoors when the weather is warm and traveling. She also has 2 dogs: Rita and May, who are regular, friendly faces around the clinic.


abbey_bwAbbey, Office Manager

Abbey is the Office Manager here at Summer Street and is originally from Russia, Ohio.

Abbey graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in Strategic Communications. She and her husband, Kurt, reside in Mediapolis with their children, Rosalie and Eli, along with their 2 furry kids, Gizmo and LuLu Belle.

When Abbey does get spare time, she enjoys drinking coffee while it’s still warm, running, napping, watching Buckeye football, drinking the occasional glass of wine and time with her family and friends.

MBMisty, Veterinary & Technician Assistant

Misty is a Veterinary and Technician Assistant at Summer Street Animal Clinic. Originally from Morning Sun, she now resides in Burlington with her husband, Brian, and their two children, Tyce and Bryn.

Misty graduated from Winfield/Mt. Union in 1995 and also attended Kirkwood Community College and Southeastern Community College after graduating high school.

Not only does Misty have her hands full with her two children, she also has two dogs: Zoey (Lhasa Poo) and Bryzzo (Pooshon), and two cats: Bob and Kiki.

In her free time, Misty enjoys cheering her kids on during their sporting events, watching the Chicago Cubs, hiding around the clinic and scaring Dr. Hillyard and during the warmer months, soaking up the sun on the river.

KDKayla, Veterinary Assistant

Kayla is one of our Veterinary Assistants at Summer Street Animal Clinic. She is a 2013 Mediapolis High School graduate. She also graduated from Southeastern Community College with a degree in Agriculture Management.

Kayla and her husband, Daniel, currently reside in Denmark with their four dogs, Dixie (Australian Shepard), Sophie (Pembroke Welsh Corgi), Dollie (Australian Shepard) and Whiskey (Miniature Australian Shepard).

When not at Summer Street, Kayla enjoys spending time with her husband, playing with her fur kids, going to car shows, hunting and spending time with family.

LRLynsey, Veterinary & Technician Assistant

Lynsey is one of our Veterinary and Technician Assistants.

She is a 2012 Danville High School graduate and she also has graduated from Southeastern Community College with an Associate of Arts Degree.

Lynsey and her husband, Edward, currently reside in Burlington with their German Shepherds, Lucy and Apollo.

Lynsey loves the outdoors including camping, boating, running and spending time with her little family.

Kelsey, Veterinary & Technician Assistant

Kelsey is one of our Veterinary and Technician Assistants. She attended high school in Macomb, Illinois and upon completion, attended and graduated from Southern Illinois University located in Carbondale, Illinois. After spending some time in Macomb to be closer to friends and family, she moved to an apartment in the historical downtown area of Burlington to be closer to the clinic. She looks forward to buying a house in Iowa so she can start a small family of her own.

When not at Summer Street, Kelsey enjoys camping, hiking and reading.

Rachel, Veterinary Assistant

Rachel is one of our Veterinary Assistants at Summer Street Animal Clinic.

She is a graduate of William Woods University where she earned her Bachelors of Science Degree in Equine Science and Business. She was on the Equestrian team at WWU and a member of Alpha Chi Omega.

Rachel now resides in Burlington with her Australian Shepherd, Trustee.

When not at Summer Street you could find Rachel either on the back of a horse, at the gym, or helping her Mother out with their small breeding program, HomeGrown Aussies.

Ally, Veterinary Assistant

Ally is a Veterinary Assistant at Summer Street Animal Clinic. She is a 2013 graduate of West Central High School and a 2015 graduate of Illinois Central College.

Ally was always raised with many pets – from dogs to goats. She currently lives in Kirkwood, IL with her boyfriend and their four cats, two donkeys, and four dogs: Paisley (Pitbull mix), Penelope (Chihuahua), Porter (Blue Heeler Mix), Sonya (German Shepherd) and the occasional foster animal.

In her spare time, she enjoys walking her dogs and taking them on adventures, relaxing with a good book, finding TV shows to binge watch on Netflix, and spending time with loved ones.

susan_bwSusan, Technician

Sue has been with Summer Street since 1992. She is a 1982 graduate of Union High School and attended Southeastern Community College on a basketball scholarship.

She graduated from SCC in 1984 with an Associate Degree in Agricultural Business.

She then went to Iowa State University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science, in 1988.

Sue says her favorite part of working at Summer Street Animal Clinic is the equine work which she specializes in, and all the interesting surgeries with which she gets to assist.

Sue enjoys riding her Quarter Horse, Sandy, and spending time with her Border Collie mix, Skye.

JamieJamie, Technician

Jamie is a registered Veterinary Technician. She graduated from Kirkwood Community College where she earned her Technician degree in 2004.

After graduating, Jamie joined Summer Street Animal Clinic and worked as a technician for 4 years.

In January, 2008, she moved to northeast Iowa (where her husband, Jeremy, was originally from).

In 2012, they moved back to Salem, Iowa where Jamie and Jeremy are now raising their 3 children, Emily, Haylee and Henry.

Jamie’s family has a cat named Bell and a dog named Fred She enjoys spending time with her family, sewing, scrapbooking and golfing.

valerie_bwValerie, Technician

Valerie is a Veterinary Technician here at Summer Street.

She is a graduate of Dallas City High School and the Veterinary Technician program at Coastal Carolina College in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

She and her husband, Joshua, live outside of Dallas City, IL and have three sons: Dakota, Dustin and Drake as well as dogs, cats, a pig and horses as family pets.

Their family enjoys motorcycle riding, boating and camping.

BetsyBetsy, Technician

Betsy is a Veterinary Technician here at Summer Street Animal Clinic. She is originally from Paris, Illinois and moved to Monmouth, Illinois in 2014 with her husband, Travis.

They have 1 dog, a Boxer named Kobe and a cat named Mew.

Betsy graduated from Cedar Valley College with a degree in Veterinary Technology through the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) accreditation program.

When not at Summer Street, Betsy enjoys spending time with her husband boating and golfing, and cuddling with her pets.

Breanna, Techncian

Breanna is a Veterinary Technician here at Summer Street Animal Clinic.

She is a graduate of Western Illinois University where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology with an emphasis on Zoology and Animal Science. She was also on the track team at Western, where she competed in the 400 hurdles.

Breanna has four rescued fur-babies; a Great Dane/Mastiff mix named Silas, a Beagle mix named Sarah, an English Setter named Tarly and a cat named Mc, short for McDonalds, where she was found as a stray.

When not at Summer Street, Breanna enjoys running, camping, reading, four-wheeler riding and spending time with her pets.

Abby, Technician

Originally from Mediapolis, Iowa, Abby graduated from Mediapolis High School in 2009. After graduating high school, she attended Southeastern Community College where she received her Associates of Arts degree. Upon graduation from SCC, Abby went on to receive her Associates of Applied Science and Veterinary Technician degree from Muscatine Community College’s Veterinary Technician Program. Abby had gained great experience prior to joining the Summer Street team- she grew up on her family’s farm where they raised cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens and a horse, as well as had 5 years of technical experience with another clinic.

Abby currently resides in Mediapolis with her husband, Travis, their daughters, Lara and Leah, and their Australian Shepherd/Chocolate Lab mix, Ezra. When she’s not at Summer Street taking great care of the pets that come in to see us, she enjoys spending a lot of time with her family, friends, attending her brother’s sporting events, camping, boating and helping on the farm.

Heidi, Technician Assistant

Heidi was born and raised in Burlington, Iowa where she graduated from Burlington High School in 1999 and received her Certified Nursing Aid certificate in 2000 from Southeastern Community College. She has had jobs in the medical and child care/school field until her love and passion for animals led her to Summer Street.

Heidi and her husband, Adam, live in Burlington with their 3 boys: Hunter, Quinten and Dakota. They have 3 dogs: Diamond (American Pitbull Terrier), Maverick (Husky Mix) and May May (Chihuahua Mix).

If she isn’t home sewing, you can find her at a baseball field, football field or in a gym watching her boys wrestle. She loves to be with her family and friends on the weekends.

Emily, Technician Assistant & Kennel Assistant

Emily is a Technician Assistant and Kennel Assistant at Summer Street. Originally from St. Louis, she moved to Burlington in 2012. Emily and her husband, Tyler, have three dogs- Milo (Jack Russell), Woolie (Pomeranian) and Cujo (Blue Heeler). #dogmom

Emily enjoys spending time with her husband, going to a Blues hockey game, hanging with her dogs and doing projects around the house. She also works as a CMA at Bickford and loves helping people and animals whenever she can.

Hannah, Technician

Hannah is one of our registered Veterinary Technicians and has been with us since September of 2018. She graduated from Muscatine Community College’s Veterinary Technician program and passed her boards in 2017. Before coming to Summer Street, she spent a year living and working in Omaha, while also interning at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo.

Hannah currently resides in Mediapolis with her fiancé and their daughter, along with their rescued Husky mix and 4 cats. In her free time, Hannah enjoys going fishing and kayaking.