I would often go to Happiness is Pets in Orland Park just to enjoy viewing all of the animals. I was wishing that I could someday bring home another dog for our older Boston Terrier, Rex. It was one day back in 2007 that another Boston terrier caught my eye. That was when I first met Blitz. I went several times and he just made me melt. He was so captivating. I would walk into the store every time and no matter where I was in the store, he was looking at me. Those huge ears on his little three-pound body eventually won me over. After several visits, I brought my husband Matt in and Blitz also won him over. On February 11th, 2007, we brought him home. He met his new brother Rex and we began our journey. Blitz and Rex were buddies and inseparable until Rex passed in September 2014. Blitz was lost, but he was our world.
Blitz has always been the most loving, attention needing dog I have had. He has always been loyal and the most comforting dog. He has always got along with other dogs. In fact, we would take him to PetSmart hotel or other boarding places when we would go out of town and when we picked him up he would be behind the service desk. The workers loved him so much that we let him hang out with them. This happened often. He has always been the life of any gathering and everyone is drawn to him. His great personality and loving demeanor drew everyone to him. If not, he would make sure that you knew he was there and demanded your attention. Blitz loves other animals, people, camping, hiking, and cuddling with anyone. He is motivated by treats and our love. Unfortunately in late November 2018, Blitz was diagnosed with Inter-vertebral Disk Disease (IVDD). This disease happens when the cushioning discs between the vertebrae of the spinal cord and begin to break down or harden. This takes away the cushioning which causes nerve damage and pain, hind leg dysfunction, weakness, and sensitivity to certain mobile activities.
Why Integrative Pet Care?
We chose to bring Blitz to Integrative Pet Care after his diagnosis because of our research and wanted to try a different type of treatment. They had great recommendations and reviews so we decided to give them a try. Blitz has been there since November 2018. We have done several different treatments such as acupuncture, massages, and aqua therapy. Aqua therapy has been most suitable for his condition, but to motivate him there has to be an unlimited supply of liver and peanut butter. Everyone at Integrative knows that he is treat-motivated and needy.
How has Integrative Pet Care helped?
Currently, we are just maintaining Blitz’s mobility. We have purchased a dog kart and several other kinds of support to help him. The training of using these supports has been difficult but we’re sure he will come around, especially if we keep that liver treats around. Integrative Pet Care has been very helpful, knowledgeable, kind, professional, and caring. The staff has an obvious love for Blitz and all other animals that visit. We are so thankful for everyone there and could not thank them enough for everything that they do. They give us hope that Blitz will be able to continue his camping, hikes, music fests, and everything else he enjoys doing.
Blitz is a great example of perseverance. He came to us almost 16 months ago with some weakness in his hind limbs secondary to spinal cord disease. Through treatment consisting of hydrotherapy, acupuncture, and exercises he was able to maintain independent mobility for nearly a year. He is now in a cart, but continues to have a great joy for life and still loves his peanut butter more than anything!
Dr. Amber Ihrke
Blitz is one of my favorite boys. He is so much fun to work with even though he is such a stubborn little guy. He has had his ups and downs throughout his time with us but it has never brought his spirit down. As long as he has his peanut butter nothing bothers him. I look forward to seeing him and his big ole’ ears every time he comes in!
Katie, Animal Rehab Therapist
Make A Difference
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal-related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. The animal-related organization that Blitz would love to promote is Midwest Boston Terrier Rescue at https://midwestbtrescue.org/.
Lacey was a rescue, found at less than a year old by a Chicago Police Officer and brought to Bow Wow Rescue. She spent a few months with a foster family before her new family found her through rescueme.org.
Dottie is also a rescue. She was found in Oak Park as a stray and brought to Animal Care League. She was in the shelter for approximately 3 months and so stressed she had almost lost her bark by the time her family adopted her. But her bark came back strong after a week in her new home!
Both pups came to IPC to rehab a CCL injury and went through a treatment program that including hydrotherapy, therapeutic laser treatments, and Therapeutic Exercise.
(IPC) came highly recommended. I also appreciate the approach to heal them naturally. We all found everyone so helpful and friendly! Lacey rebounded after her surgery quickly and continues to improve using her back leg all of the time. Dottie has come along nicely without resorting to surgery and is using her back leg most of the time. Dottie and Lacey love coming to therapy. When I get to 159th and Parker in the left turn lane to U turn they lose it. Barking and whining they cannot wait to see their friends!
Patricia, Dottie & Lacey’s mom
Lacey is a sweetheart of a dog who, unfortunately, tore her cranial cruciate ligament. She had a successful TPLO surgery and came to see us for post-operative rehabilitation. Lacey had a treatment plan that consisted of therapeutic laser, hydrotherapy, and therapeutic exercises. She did fantastic with her recovery and we are really proud of her progress. Way to go Lacey!
Dr. Amber Ihrke
Lacey and Dottie live in a 3 Jack Russell household with the third one called Belle. Mom brought all 3 of them in to IPC every time a visit was scheduled. It was always enjoyable to start the day with these 3 ladies as although they were all the same breed, they all had completely different personalities. Lacey was shy, nervous, and very much a “momma’s girl.” Dottie was the most energetic and enthusiastic of the 3. Belle was the only one of the 3 who didn’t come to us for rehabilitation, so we didn’t get to know her as well, but she was always friendly and up for getting pet or being given a treat. I had the pleasure of working almost exclusively with Lacey who I became quite attached to and was always excited to work with. Although she never really seemed completely thrilled to be at IPC, our beef liver treats helped her come out of her shell and motivated her to work hard and achieve great heights while here. She started rehabilitation after a left rear TPLO and received laser therapy, underwater treadmill, and therapeutic exercises. What was great about Lacey was that she was able to do more challenging things every time she came in for a visit. I was continuously noticing improvements and I was receiving positive reports about her progress at home. After her second TPPE, she graduated to a home exercise program after significant improvements in comfort, weight bearing, and muscle mass were noted. I miss working with her regularly, but I am very proud of her and hope she continues to improve and make strides at home. Way to go, Lacey!!
Tiffany, Animal Rehab Therapist
Dottie is a super sweet dog that happens to also be a ball full of energy. It was so funny to see how excited she was to see us compared to her sister, Lacey, when they would come in for their appointments. Dottie did not undergo surgery to repair a torn cruciate, but improved tremendously with rehab. It was always take a little while for her to calm down enough to sit still for her laser and massage session, but even when she was calmer, she was still rolling over on her back for belly rubs every time you called her a “good girl”. I’m proud of the improvements that she made and I know with the exercises the owner is doing at home, she will continue to do well. It was so much fun working with the terrier sisters!
Michelle, Animal Rehab Therapist
Make A Difference
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal-related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Lacey and Dottie’s family has asked us to tell you about rescueme.org
It’s with a heavy heart we let you know that our Patient Of The Month Haylie has recently passed, but it is our pleasure and honor to dedicate the month of February to her.
Haylie had a rough start in life, but all that changed when she was adopted into a home who showered her with love and attention. Despite her history, she adored people, loved to play tug and was a loving companion and perfect pal to her two doggie siblings. In May of 2017 she began randomly limping and was diagnosed with a soft tissue injury, but her lameness seemed to disappear with pain medications. Unfortunately, in November 2018, she became non-weight bearing and painful even with the addition of 3 more pain medications.
Her vet suspected the worst, highly aggressive bone cancer which gave her a poor prognosis. Ultimately an amputation was recommended as well as chemotherapy. The cancer spread to her lungs in November 2019, but that didn’t slow down her zest for life.
Haylie’s parents brought their previous dog to Integrative Pet Care of Homer Glen, so it was a no-brainer to return. In January 2019 they met with Dr. Amber Ihrke shortly after her amputation. A rehabilitation program was prescribed which included acupuncture, massage, exercise and manual therapy. These therapies were specifically recommended for pain management and strengthening. IPC worked closely with her parents, oncologist and primary care veterinarian to give her the best quality of life.
Haylie enjoyed her time at IPC and her therapists loved working with her. “Every time she came to us, she had a big goofy grin on her face that was contagious and heartwarming”- Tiffany
Once she started therapy, her swelling disappeared and she became more mobile and comfortable. She regained her strength and was back to enjoying past activities like running at the lake, climbing bluffs, and taking treks into town.
“Despite being diagnosed with cancer which required an amputation, she always greeted us with a smile and wagging tail. Haylie was an incredibly sweet dog who just loved to get attention. It’s patients like Haylie who remind us to never let the little things get to us, never take life for granted, and live each day to the fullest. Having survived for over a year since her initial diagnosis, she is an inspiration to us. Haylie will always have a special place in our hearts.” -Michelle
Make A Difference
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Haylie’s family has asked us to tell you about Illiana Rescue.
We are a small, 501(c)(3) non-profit animal welfare organization of volunteers.
We save dogs and cats from euthanasia, abuse and neglect.
We work closely with local shelter management, veterinarians and community members, serving Northwest Indiana-Lake County.
We mainly focus on animals in dire need, such as death row dogs and cats at high-kill shelter facilities, animal impounds or veterinary hospitals.
We provide proper care, medical treatment, therapy and social rehabilitation for the animals in foster homes.
We give animals a second chance at long, happy, healthy lives in loving adoptive homes.
Mr. Bennet is one of our long-time patients, so it’s only appropriate that he gets the honor of being the first Patient of the Month in 2020! We met Mr. Bennet two years ago when his family was looking for options to keep him more comfortable and mobile. It was noted on exam that he had hindlimb weakness and loss of coordination. He had also developed bilateral hip and carpal (wrist) arthritis. Strengthening and pain management modalities such as underwater treadmill, therapeutic exercise, laser and massage were recommended. His family noticed an improvement in his strength and coordination right away!
“Mr. Bennet is a wonderful dog who can definitely be stubborn in his older age as he would much rather lay on the bed and Assisi mat for his laser and massage treatments instead of exercising or walking in the underwater treadmill. I feel that we have achieved our goal of keeping him independently mobile every time he walks through our doors. Whether it’s because of grumpy old man personality or him carrying his leash and walking himself back up to the front, there’s never a dull moment when Mr. Bennet is around!” -Michelle
“Bennet came from Heritage Kennel in 2008 after our daughter asked for a German Shepherd for her 10th birthday. The Chicago Police Department wanted the puppy, but our family got there first! From the beginning, he was a “miracle dog” who survived multiple health issues. He had emergency surgery following his neuter procedure, had a hemilaminectomy in 2009 due to a congenital dorsal spine dermal cyst and contracted leptospirosis despite being vaccinated.”
I honestly couldn’t think of a dog more deserving of the patient of the month title than Mr. Bennet. He is practically our mascot since he comes in to see us more than any other patient. Mr. Bennet is a gentle giant and teddy bear of a German Shepherd and it always brightens my day to see him on my schedule. Enjoy your moment in the spotlight!!! -Tiffany
Mardi’s story starts off almost 14 years ago when she was transferred to Illinois from New Orleans by West Suburban Humane Society during Hurricane Katrina. Four month old Mardi was adopted by her family on New Year’s Eve. Her family says she has a strong stubborn streak, but is the sweetest dog done without a mean bone in her body.
Last May Mardi became unable to walk and a radiograph revealed an abnormality on her spine, which her family feared to be cancer.
She was referred to Purdue University Small Animal Hospital, where it was discovered that she had cervical IVDD, so a ventral slot decompression of C6-7 was performed. Mardi had a very rough recovery and developed aspirate pneumonia after surgery, which lead to a week long hospitalization in the ICU. And if that wasn’t enough, she also tore her cranial cruciate ligament (CCL). Her owners never gave up on her though and nursed her back to health.
Mardi was referred to Integrative Pet Care of Homer Glen where she met with her new team, Dr. Annie Ubatuba and Michelle. Dr. Annie noted during her evaluation that she was incredibly weak and did not have the ability to stand on her own. A rehabilitation program was created which included acupuncture, underwater treadmill, massage, laser, and exercise. She was also fitted for a stifle (knee) brace to address her CCL tear.
“Despite being older, Mardi has such a strong fighting spirit. It’s inspiring to see her get stronger and feistier the more she comes to see us. Although she might not always be the biggest fan of sitting still for a laser or massage session, the therapies plus the orthotic have helped her come a long way. I look forward to seeing the progress she continues to make.” -Michelle
Make A Difference
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Mardi has asked us to tell you about the organization that saved her life, West Suburban Humane Society.
The West Suburban Humane Society (WSHS) is a volunteer-based, animal welfare organization that was founded in 1972 as a lost-and-found referral service. A dedicated volunteer base and the retained service of several veterinarians has allowed us to save the lives of and give 600 homeless animals each year new homes. We continue to reunite lost animals and their families by maintaining a database with information on over 33,000 pets and their owners, and by providing free pet identification tags.
Bailey came to Integrative Pet Care Homer Glen in April 2019 after a rough recovery from tibial tuberosity advancement (TTA) surgery to repair his torn right cranial cruciate ligament (CCL). Bailey recovered well from a previous surgery in 2016 to repair his torn left CCL, so his owner knew he had to do something. After reading reviews about our clinic, Dave decided to make an evaluation where he met with Dr. Amber Ihrke. In that first appointment it was noted that Bailey was non-weight bearing on his right rear leg and was very uncomfortable with examination of the right knee, which had been this way for months.
Our goals were to address his discomfort and start his recovery to a functional gait. After being put on oral anti-inflammatory medication, supplements, going home with an Assisi loop, and coming to us for laser therapy, he started feeling better. Once his pain was under control, Bailey was able to move onto active therapies like underwater treadmill and therapeutic exercises.
“Bailey, who has a reputation for being quite the ladies’ man, quickly became an IPC favorite” says Tiffany. He is always happy, always smiling, and always beyond thrilled to be at IPC hanging out with his therapists and his good attitude is contagious. According to Michelle, “Katie, Tiffany, and I have to fight to have him on our schedule, but are glad to see him in the building regardless of who has him!”
“With an aggressive rehabilitation program over the course of 4 months, Bailey went from only placing about 3% body weight (normal 20%) on his right rear limb to 15%! Bailey was able to return to a functional 4-limb gait and his comfort is much improved!” -Dr. Ihrke
“Bailey has come a long way in his treatment plan, both in overall attitude and range of motion. He continues to make small improvements, as well as maintain the strength and flexibility he gained by continuing to see us as part of his maintenance plan. It’s amazing what you can get a big ole’ lab to do for peanut butter and beef liver!” -Katie
“The amazing team at IPC have many tools in their bag to help with just about any disorder or problem. Don’t give up on your pet without taking them to IPC first, they deserve a second opinion and second chance! Bailey is living a normal life with little to no pain, and I feel he will remain that way for the rest of his life thanks to IPC.” -Dave
12 week old Benji joined his family in May 2019, and after only 1 week at his new home he suffered a terrible accident. Benji jumped onto a blanket on the couch and slid off onto the floor. His family rushed him to Premier Veterinary Group in Orland Park. Benji had unfortunately broken both of his elbows, which required extensive surgery.
The Surgeon had serious concerns in regards to what his surgery would entail and the unknown outcome if the surgery was a success. He had Bilateral Medial Humeral Condyle fractures which required his elbows to be repaired with pins and screws. Luckily the surgery was a success and Benji was up on his feet in two days! His family was ready to do whatever it took to get him up and acting like a puppy again.
Benji’s was referred to Dr. Amber Ihrke at Integrative Pet Care of Homer Glen by his surgeon, Dr. Alexander El-Warrak, and his family couldn’t be happier with the outcome. After meeting with his rehab team, Benji was prescribed a treatment program that consisted of swimming and therapeutic exercises. After 8 weeks of therapy, Benji had a full recovery of his elbow range of motion, increased muscle mass in his front limbs, improved flexibility in his front limbs and most importantly, did not show any signs of lameness. “It was amazing to see him make such significant improvements session after session! Although he wasn’t a fan of the water, all was forgiven with Benji once the beef liver treats were pulled out. He loved doing exercises for snacks and was so brave with all of the equipment! Patients like Benji help remind me exactly why I started in this field, and so he will forever be one of my favorite patients!” -Michelle
“From the start Jill (patient services coordinator) has been wonderful! She coordinated all of our appointments and most importantly sent us reminders and followed up on visits. It was an overwhelming time and I appreciated her being so on top of things. Michelle was so patient with Benji throughout the entire process. She truly has a gift and is in the right profession. Michelle did an amazing job explaining the goals for therapy and devised a specific home exercise program. I always left feeling like I learned something new to improve the healing process”. -Jessica, Benji’s mom
Benji’s family would like to spread the message of Never Give Up. “Benji’s surgery and recovery were not easy and it definitely was not cheap. Money comes and goes, but giving him the chance at life and the endless amount of joy he brings to us everyday is priceless. Looking at Benji today we feel inspired- we can hardly believe how far he has come in such a short amount of time. He truly is a success story and you never know what’s possible, but love and hope can go a long way.”
Make a difference
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Benji has asked us to tell you about TLC Animal Shelter.
T.L.C. has served the community as a private, non-profit, humane society, dedicated to the prevention of abuse, neglect, and cruelty to animals. The shelter provides refuge for an average of three to four thousand animals yearly.
Lily came to us after a two month history of right rear lameness that was diagnosed as a cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) injury and a patellar luxation. By using a stance analyzer, we were able to determine that Lily was only putting 5% of her body weight on her right rear limb (normal is 20%). Her owners wanted to try a conservative treatment option to see if we could get Lily to walk better. Her therapeutic plan over 8 weeks consisted of pain management modalities and osteoarthritis disease-modifying medication. At the end of her plan, Lily showed no lameness and improved her weight-bearing on the left rear limb to 23%! Lily is a great example of how conservative management with some knee injuries can lead to excellent outcomes.
“Lily is a sweet, rambunctious dog with a lot of personality in a little package. Despite not liking the water at all, she walked in the underwater treadmill very well, and it was amazing to see how much she progressed over 8 weeks despite her stubborn attitude!” -Michelle, Lily’s therapist
Lily’s story starts in 2015 when she was adopted from Indiana Petite Paws Rescue Angels. “Lily was a tiny, six-year-old little girl who only weighed four pounds. She was spoiled and did not want to share her new home with another dog as she was used to being the only child. While she likes to play with toys and fetch, she also likes to snuggle under the covers and watch TV. Lily is she is a ‘diva dog’ who does not like cold or rainy weather since it spoils her hair.” -Carol
When Lily started experiencing lameness, her parents booked an appointment right away at Integrative Pet Care Homer Glen since they had a great experience at the Chicago location with a previous dog. They hoped to treat her condition conservatively to avoid surgery.
“After 4 weeks her progress was impressive, and after an additional 4 she was almost back to normal. We cannot thank the Integrative Pet Care staff enough!” -Carol
Make a difference
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Lily has asked us to tell you about The Caspian Foundation.
Our goal is to provide families with a special needs pet that may need equipment, such as a cart, orthotic or prosthetic device in order to live an independent and full life. Our mission is only possible through generous donations from our supporters. Please consider making a donation so that we can continue to provide assistance to animals in need.
Meet the fantastic French Bulldog pair, Beau Jangles & Coco Chanel. These two seem to capture everyone’s hearts wherever they go and IPC is no exception. They are so popular that therapists Katie, Tiffany and Michelle “fight” over who gets to see them!
Beau Jangles came to us with left rear lameness. It was determined that the cause was cranial cruciate disease and medial patellar luxation which would require surgery to correct. Beau had a tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO) surgery and started therapy within days. He did excellent with his treatment program and was back to almost full weight bearing within eight weeks!
Coco was diagnosed with bilateral hip dysplasia. While rehabilitation cannot reverse hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis, targeted therapy can address pain, compensatory issues and improve gait biomechanics. Coco was prescribed weekly sessions of underwater treadmill, therapeutic laser, massage, therapeutic exercises and Adequan injections. After an eight week program, she was not only more comfortable, but was able to go on 20 minute walks with only occasional lameness.
“It was amazing to see how fast Beau recovered from his TPLO surgery with rehab, and even though Coco’s hips are terrible on x-ray, you would never tell by looking at her since she runs around like a maniac!” – Michelle, BS, CVT
“The day they successfully completed their rehabilitation programs was the happiest and most devastating day for us. We were all excited that they were back to normal function, but also sad that they wouldn’t be able to see them weekly anymore! We are all counting the days until their 30 day rechecks” -Tiffany, CCRA
Kris brought Coco home after losing her beloved Boston Terrier, Gizmo. Despite her initial sweet demeanor, Coco went from cute and cuddly to a fun loving and crazy girl within the first couple months. Later, Kris decided that Coco needed a friend and brought Beau home who has been calm and loving since he was a puppy. “Although Beau can give Coco a run for her money, she is the alpha dog who demands all the toys to be her own”. -Kris
After Coco was diagnosed with hip dysplasia, I was looking for alternative care and got very excited with all that IPC has to offer, especially in terms of pain management. These are all the things I would absolutely and do for myself, so having it available for my beloved dogs is fantastic! -Kris
Beau and Coco have since graduated from their formal programs, but their home exercise programs are crucial to their continual success. “Their mom does great with their home programs, which is hard with one dog let alone two!” -Katie, CVT, CCRVN, CVPP
Everyone treated us like we were their most important clients. When Dr. Amber got right on the floor with Beau instead of putting him on a cold metal table, I knew I made the right choice. Her clothes were even covered in fur from her other patients which showed me that she cared- that meant the world to me.
Brady’s love for launching himself off a deck after birds landed him at the vet’s office to repair one of his bilateral torn cranial cruciate ligaments (CCL) last fall. At the suggestion of their daughter, who is a physical therapist, Brady’s parents made an appointment at Integrative Pet Care- Homer Glen.
Brady had surgery on his right stifle (knee) first and when that was strong enough, he went under to repair the left. “From the first day we saw him post operation, he was doing amazing! Thanks to the rehabilitation of his right leg, his recovery was much quicker and now both legs are stronger than ever” says therapist Michelle.
Another aspect of Brady’s program was weight loss which he accomplished under the care of therapist Katie who is a Purina Weight Coach- “he really is a great example of how weight loss can greatly improve the recovery process”.
What a difference you made to Brady’s life. He loved his visits and has gained back almost all mobility that he had before surgery. -Brady’s mom
You would never know it today, but Brady was a ‘monster’ when he was little! With lots of training, he calmed down and transformed into a friendly and sweet dog.