Our Team

Dr. Stephen Paxton
Veterinarian & Practice Owner
In 7th or 8th grade, Steve was walking down the road with a friend and his friend’s dog, Boots. Boots decided to chase a squirrel into the road just as a car was coming—the car’s bumper nicked Boots, but luckily the dog was okay aside from being a little sore. As that scary scene unfolded in front of him, Steve knew he wanted to help his friend’s dog. It was at this time Steve began to think about becoming a veterinarian. 

Steve grew up in Traverse City, Michigan, as the youngest of four kids. He worked on a horse farm throughout junior and senior high school, another key factor in his decision to work with animals. After high school, Steve earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Biology and Management from Michigan State University. He realized he wanted to go back to his childhood calling of veterinary medicine and returned to MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, graduating in 1987. In 1991, after working as an associate veterinarian in a mixed animal practice, he moved his family to Ludington and opened the Animal Hospital of Ludington!

As a veterinary professional, Dr. Paxton especially enjoys the variety of everyday general practice, interacting with clients and patients, and performing soft tissue and orthopedic surgery. He also enjoys unraveling the mysteries of a sick animal and helping that animal become healthy again.  

Dr. Paxton lives with his wife Patty, who he’s been married to since 1979. Their oldest daughter Leslie, became a veterinarian herself and now works as an associate veterinarian at the Animal Hospital of Ludington! Their son Stephen, works as a 911 dispatcher as he attends college. Their youngest daughter, Claire, is in college studying nutrition and exercise physiology. The family opened their home to two foreign exchange students, Bele from Germany and Maren from Norway, who they also consider their adopted daughters.

The Paxton family would not be complete without their three dogs; Twig and Sage who are English Setters and crazy about bird hunting! And Meeah is their Goldendoodle who is Patty’s shadow around the house and enjoys naps on the cool tile floors. Dr. Paxton, Twig and Sage are an avid woodcock banding team. Dr. Paxton is one of 100 outdoorsmen licensed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to band woodcock chicks using highly trained pointing dogs during the months of April and May. This program is designed to monitor the populations of this very interesting ground dwelling, migratory game bird.

Dr. Paxton also is an accomplished guitarist who plays in his church band and is a passionate John Denver fan. He even arranged for John Denver’s former guitarist, Pete Huttlinger to perform an awesome concert at the local community college. 
Dr. Leslie Deines
Associate Veterinarian
In many ways, veterinary medicine is in Dr. Leslie Deines’ blood. That’s because she’s the daughter of Dr. Steve Paxton, proud owner and operator of the Animal Hospital of Ludington! Dr. Deines was born during her father’s last year of veterinary school, so she’s been around the field for her entire life. Her own lifelong passion for animal care made one thing very clear: she was destined to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a veterinarian herself.

Dr. Deines is a Ludington native and was only four or five years old when she started helping her dad around the clinic and going on farm calls to assist with horses and cattle. She gained even more real-world experience by volunteering at the local animal hospital during her high school and community college careers. Dr. Deines attended West Shore Community College and Michigan State University for her undergraduate degree in animal science, studying abroad in Northern Ireland for a semester, before heading to veterinary school at Michigan State’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Deines graduated in 2013 and joined the Animal Hospital of Ludington team as an Associate Veterinarian a few weeks later. She has a special interest in anesthesia, and she’s also fond of mentoring and teaching new employees and interns about the field of veterinary medicine.

In her time away from the office, Dr. Deines enjoys watching movies with her husband, J.P., practicing yoga, bicycling, reading, drawing and painting, and doting on her own pets at home. The couple shares their lives with a loveable Beagle/Pit Bull mix named Otis; a black housecat named Stretch; Merida the Calico barn cat; and a retired show horse named Tazz-Tazz who has been Dr. Deines’ partner since she was 14 years old.
  • What our clients have to say…

    • Jen Ely

      We've been taking our dogs here for the least 10+ years and they are compassionate and caring with our pets and very informative when special care is needed. Truly grateful they are our vet.

    • Greg Mary Vukovich

      We would like to thank Dr. Steve and Dr. Leslie for being there for CB with excellent care.. Dr. Steve was there from the beginning and he made CB's transition at the end very peaceful and easy for us. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, we are forever gratelful!!!!

    • Jill Lyn

      Just want to say The Vet did an amazing job. She was Awesome. She answered all our questions and was wonderful. They vet tech was amazing too. Thank you for taking care of my baby..

    • Jacklyn Osgood

      Dr.'s Paxton and all the employees are professionals. Your furry friends will be getting excellent care. Totally recommend.

    • Renee Bernardi

      A big thank you to Dr. Paxton for agreeing to be Tessa’s new vet and participate in the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study. We moved to Michigan from Indiana just over 2 years ago and have been struggling to find a vet willing to participate which meant driving 3 1/2 hours each way once a year to our former vet. Dr. Paxton and his staff are wonderful. So glad I can finally say I have a vet I can trust my fur babies with.

    • Kandi Miller

      my babyboy captain comes to you and he just loves you all

    • Shawn Bennett

      Wonderful staff. Nola could not possibly have been in better hands.