“Ella was originally found on the side of the road by a good Samaritan as a 3 pound, 5-week-old puppy and brought to DuPage County Animal Control. They quickly realized that she was deaf, as she would sleep through all the commotion of animal control in her kennel, not noticing when people walked up and talked to her. I happened to be in the building on the day she arrived and just fell in love with her little face. Patrick and I agreed to foster her for the rescue I was with at the time, thinking it would not take her long to be adopted, and we picked her up on a Friday. By Saturday’s adoption event, she had already decided we were meant to be her parents and she would cry and search for us if anyone else tried to hold her. We adopted her on Monday, joining her big sister Sophia. Ella was an incredibly smart puppy, quickly picking up sign language.
Two days after she graduated from puppy 1 positive reinforcement basic obedience training, at 3.5 months old, she was attacked by a neighbor dog. Ella had her paws up on a chain link fence while the neighbors were petting her. The dog charged at Ella pulling her front left leg up and through the fence, where he viciously shook her around resulting in a broken radius and ulna, 28 puncture wounds, a ripped off paw pad, 6 broken teeth, and the equivalent of shaken baby syndrome. Ella was immediately rushed to first her primary vet and then transferred to the emergency vet where the orthopedic surgeon could repair her leg with a plate and screws. With 3 months of casts being changed every 3-4 days, 24/7 care provided by family and friends and 2 additional surgeries Ella recovered. Unfortunately, the growth plate in her ulna closed prematurely while the radius continued to grow causing a deformity in her leg where the foot points outward.
As she grew, the out-turned foot became more and more pronounced. She was doing very well until she was about 18 months old, when we started noticing less use of her bad leg and signs of pain. Around the same time, she began coughing up/vomiting almost every day after or during busy play, and collapsing onto the floor – appearing similar to heat stroke. We made an appointment with Dr. Harres at All Pets Hospital to address her leg and the vomiting concerns. When no apparent cause was found for the vomiting, he took an x-ray of her leg, which showed a lot of arthritis in her elbow and wrist, the start of fusion in her joints and between the bones, and a hole where one of her bones never healed. He then made the connection that perhaps she was vomiting and collapsing due to pain in the leg and sent us Integrative Pet Care Homer Glen to evaluate options for Ella.” -Stephanie, Ella’s mom
“Ella came to us at 18 months old after a severe injury to her left front leg. She exhibited lameness and pain that leg when she was playing and disliked anyone touching her leg. With a treatment plan of hydrotherapy, manual therapy and therapeutic exercises, Ella has improved weight bearing on her right front leg, has no issues with playing and will now allow petting of her leg. Ella is a great example of pain modulation through rehabilitation.” -Amber Ihrke, DVM, CCRT, CVA, CVSMT
“Integrative Pet Care has been wonderful for our family, by providing resources, information, and high-quality care. It is comforting to see how much the therapists enjoy working with Ella.” -Stephanie
“Ella is an amazing case of how rehab can help to break the pain cycle in a dog. During the initial evaluation, we had a difficult time trying to exam her because she was protective of her limb. We slowly gained her trust through manual therapy and instructed her owner how to perform massage techniques at home. Ella also began walking in the underwater treadmill which allowed her to weight bear more on her limb with decreased pain compared to land. Over the past several weeks, Ella has allowed us to now touch her elbow and front limb without any reaction. Her owners report how she now reaches with the injured limb and they have shown us video of her jumping on and off the couches landing on her left front limb. Ella does not demonstrate any lameness during her gait and besides her mobility improving, she no longer guards or protects her left front leg like we saw during her initial evaluation. Ella can also do “high five” with her injured limb. We just love seeing Ella during her therapy sessions and I’m so happy about how much she has regained through rehab.” -Valerie Williams, PT, DPT, ATRIC, CCRP
“When Ella first came to us, she was very uncomfortable with her left front leg and did not want it to be touched. As she continued through her program and began to feel better you could see her come out of her shell. It was great to see how much happier she was. At the start, Ella would run and hide from us and by her last session she was jumping into my arms and giving me kisses.” -Katie Dunbar CVT, CCRA
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Ella has asked us to tell you about a brand new rescue that her mom started, Wish Upon A Rescue which is currently working to raise$5000 to begin saving cats and dogs in need. (website coming soon!)