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Veterinary Rehabilitation,
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Patient of the Month October 2016 Homer Glen


Sadie is a miniature short, smoothed-haired Dachshund Rescue age 9 yrs 7 mos. She came into our lives early 2008, just prior to her turning 1 yr old. A co-worker (her previous owner) was in need at the time to find Sadie a new home. We were blessed when Sadie became part of our family.
Sadie, the Angel that she is, with a fantastic, energetic, friendly personality has a temperament that is active, playful, and devoted.
In October 2007, at the age of 7 mos., her previous owner brought Sadie to be seen by a DVM for concern of her wide stance in her rear limbs. Hip dysplasia was ruled out. Imaging had been performed. No significant abnormalities sadie-potm-3-10-4were seen.

On September 2, 2015 while at home, Sadie became reluctant to move. She began to walk slowly, and became acutely ataxic. Sadie was immediately brought to a DVM where she was hospitalized 48 hours for supportive care for IVDD (Intervertebral Disk Disease), and then later transferred to Veterinary ER where she was seen by a neurologist.

On September 4, 2015 after review of results from a MRI, Sadie underwent a hemilaminectomy at L2/3 for an acute disc herniation with severe spinal cord damage. Sadie’s prognosis was approximately 50% recovery to regain function. Sadie was sent home four days following her surgery. Sadie received several medicines daily. Two weeks following her surgery, Sadie began outpatient therapy 2x/week for 8 weeks in addition to home exercises 3x/ day. A dog wheelchair for Sadie was introduced by the neurologist in case Sadie was unable to regain mobility at the end of her Outpatient Rehabilitation.

Sadie’s resilience was remarkable. By the end of 10 weeks from the time of her surgery, Sadie was back on her feet walking without any assistance.

On November 15, 2015, just 6 days after completion of outpatient therapy, Sadie again showed signs of discomfort and moving very slowly. She was immediately brought to the Veterinary ER where she was seen by a neurologist and another MRI performed.

On November 16, 2015 Sadie underwent a second hemilaminectomy at L1/2 for an acute disc herniation, with some spinal cord damage. Sadie was given a better prognosis after her second surgery based on her response from her first surgery.

Sadie was sent home three days after her second surgery with a similar regimen including medications, home exercises 3x /day, and Outpatient Rehabilitation.

It was mid-December 2015, almost half way through a 10 week Outpatient Rehabilitation Therapy, when a family member suggested Integrative Pet Care of Homer Glen. Following the holidays, I made an appointment on January 7, 2016 with Amber Ihrke, DVM, CCRT, CVA, CVSMT.

After meeting with Dr. Amber and her team, moving forward I decided to discontinue Outpatient Rehabilitation services at Sadie’s current location. Sadie began Outpatient Rehabilitation services at Integrative Pet Care in Homer Glen.

My decision to change location for Sadie’s Outpatient Rehabilitation services was based on the treatment plan implemented and discussed by Dr. Amber and Valerie (therapist) during Sadie’s appointment made on January 7, 2016. This 8 week treatment plan would help continue Sadie’s recovery and try to prevent further injury.sadie-d-3-potm-9-16

The treatment protocol recommended for Sadie’s overall improvement and health included Hydro treadmill used for muscle strengthening, weight shifting/weight bearing exercises, and general post-surgery fitness. All therapeutic exercises were designed specific to Sadie’s needs. Manual therapy was performed by a licensed physical therapist in order to prevent loss of range of motion, and to increase range of motion, enhanced joint nutrition, decreased edema, and decreased pain. Joint mobilizations, soft tissue mobilizations, trigger point releases were some of the modalities used. Low Level Laser (Cold) Therapy was also used to help with pain management in relation to Sadie’s scar tissue at the site of incision from both hemilaminectomy surgeries.

Oursadie-d-2 pets are part of our family. The veterinarians, therapists, certified veterinary technicians and team members at Integrative Pet Care of Homer Glen provided professional and compassionate care to improve Sadie’s health and overall quality of life for which I am truly grateful. I highly recommend Integrative Pet Care of Homer Glen. Many days Sadie is now running around the house, and for a moment I forget what she has been through. Thank you Integrative Pet Care of Homer Glen!

– Nancy Donatello owner of Sadie Donatello




Sadie came to us in January 2016 after having two spinal cord surgeries within two months of each other. She had rear limb weakness and ataxia, but was eager to get to work to recover her mobility. With hydrotherapy, manual therapy and therapeutic exercises, Sadie has made a complete recovery. She is a great example of perseverance!

-Amber Ihrke DVM, CCRT, CVA, CVSMT

Sadie has always had a great attitude and a TON of energy. When she first came to us unfortunately her rear legs potm-sadie-4-10-4could not keep up with that energy. Since starting with us in January 2016 she can finally keep up with herself! She now comes weekly to every other week for maintenance. I look forward to seeing Sadie because she really does seem to enjoy coming to see us. She is so much fun to work with!

– Katie Neforos, CVT, CCRA

Sadie is a spunky little Dachshund who came to us after having two back surgeries within two months of each other. She was having trouble walking with her rear limbs, and she would stumbled and fall down when she shook. Initially, we began with manual therapy to decrease the spasms in her back muscles, shoulders and triceps. She relied heavily on her front limbs to walk and maintain her balance. We added underwater treadmill for gait re-training and Sadie took to it with great ease. Finally, we strengthened Sadie’s core muscles and improved her proprioception through therapeutic exercises. I watched Sadie quickly improve her gait and she returned to running and shaking without losing her balance. I love watching Sadie eagerly run to the underwater treadmill with her ears flapping in the wind. She made great improvements with us and now she maintains her gains in her maintenance program.

– Valerie Williams, PT, DPT, ATRIC, CCRP