It can be very stressful to see your pet in pain and be unsure about what to do for them. Equally stressful is not knowing IF your pet is in pain. Identifying the (sometimes mysterious) symptoms in our pets is the first step to getting them back on track and doing the things that they love with their family. Here is a great resource from the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management that can help you identify some of the warning signs of pain/discomfort in your pet. Should you notice any of these symptoms or your pet is behaving in way that is out of the ordinary, please contact your veterinarian for an assessment of your pet.
“Bayou will be 8 years old in September. He is a Puggle = pug + beagle. Bayou has three reasons to wake up every
keep an eye on what happens in front of our house
and to nap.
Everyone is a potential threat to us whether they be a little girl with glittery fairy wings or a kid with a clip board trying to sell windows, Bayou makes sure to let all know that he is on the job.
The eating and napping part of his day make it difficult for him to keep a svelte figure. We are constantly battling his appetite, much like his owner! We came to IPC (and Colonial Manor Animal Hospital) because Bayou hurt his back.
I was excited to see that IPC was in the very town I live in, because I was reading people were driving some pretty decent distances to use this facility.
I took Bayou into the vet to have his pain assessed. At his first visit Bayou yelped in agony as I carried him into the office. He definitely let his presence be known! The vet tweaked the pain medications and started Adequan injections. Unfortunately, Bayou’s pain was so severe I couldn’t get him to eat, so I could not get him to take any pills. This dog turned down bacon wrapped in cheese! No pain pills meant we had another horrible night. By horrible I mean neither of us slept, he panted heavily all night long, and at one point sat up and pooped out blood. The pain meds just ravaged his intestinal tract. I took him back to CM, in the back of my mind thinking I might have to put my boy down.
If it was possible, he was worse at our second visit to CM than our first the day before. This time the vet suggested I leave him with them for a few hours so they could put him on something intravenously. He ended up spending Friday through Monday in the animal hospital. I spoke with the vets several times each day and they were very encouraged by the progress Bayou was making. It just so happened that Bayou’s IPC appointment was Monday morning. Because the two businesses are in the same building, the vet from IPC was able to see Bayou without having to move him.
By Monday Bayou’s pain was gone but so was almost all muscle mass. He was like a little sack of potatoes. I found out during our first visit with Dr. Amber that a technician called her after our first visit to Colonial Manor to tell her about Bayou. Dr. Amber was on vacation, I believe in Virginia, when she received the call! Monday was Dr. Amber’s first day back in the office and she knew all about Bayou.
At that first visit Bayou was assessed by Dr. Amber and Valerie and they came up with a four week plan for his initial rehabilitation. He mostly received muscle massage and acupuncture. Dr. Amber also prescribed a strong pain medication for Bayou to take at home – his pain was managed and he was finally comfortable. He received physical therapy twice weekly and was in Colonial Manor for Adequan injections twice weekly over a four week period.
EVERYONE knew who Bayou was! It was four weeks before Bayou was able to walk into the IPC office on his own. Bayou is a perfect example of how medicine and physical therapy work together to make miracles. People who saw him at his worse and see him now call him the miracle puppy. We all wish we had video of him at his first visit to show the comparison to where he is now. Bayou has lost a few pounds, is pain free, and I have to say is filled with more spit and vinegar than before all of this happened. After another four weeks of muscle strengthening Bayou has completed his physical therapy. I’m just so happy to have my boy back.”
-Bayou’s mom, Debbie
“Bayou came to us with such severe pain suspected from intervertebral disc disease that he could hardly move. We immediately started him on a course of treatment that included acupuncture, manual therapy and therapeutic exercises along with medication to address his pain. With each visit, Bayou was moving and feeling better. By the end of his 8-week treatment plan, Bayou was no longer taking any medication for pain, had lost 2 ½ pounds and was running, jumping and back to his old self. He is a great example of a successful integrative approach to pain relief and intervertebral disc disease.”
– Amber Ihrke DVM, CCRT, CVA, CVSMT
“I remember first meeting Bayou and he was not moving because he was in so much pain. His owner had to carry him to and from therapy. Initially, I used manual techniques to release the trigger points and muscle spasms along his back and shoulder muscles. Slowly, I watched Bayou become less painful and start to move around more each session. I will never forget the day I walked in to greet Bayou for his session and he walked up greeting me with his tail wagging. I was shocked and did not recognize Bayou. I could not believe how quickly his pain levels were managed with pain meds, manual techniques and acupuncture. He then continued with his underwater treadmill and
exercise sessions and by the end of his therapy, Bayou was running around without showing any signs of pain.”
-Valerie Williams, PT, DPT, ATRIC, CCRP
“When I first saw Bayou in his initial, he was so miserable. He was in severe pain that his owner could not control. I did not see him again until 4 weeks later when he started exercises and did not even realize it was the same dog! He came running into the gym happy and excited to work. It was an amazing turn around. By the end of his sessions I had a hard time keeping up with him.”
“Ewan came into our lives as a foster dog when he was about two years old. He had a history of running loose and his owners eventually turned him over to a central Illinois animal control facility. His easy going, non-confrontational personality allowed him to fit right into our pack. His antics make me smile – pointing butterflies, hunting toads and humping the dog bed every time I run the vacuum. He is always ready to go, always ready to play, but never passes up an opportunity to snuggle under the covers. A kind-hearted soul with a little bit of an endearing daredevil side. He won me over. There was no way I could part with him. We adopted him, making him a permanent member of the family.
In May 2016, Ewan began to limp on his right hind leg. I noticed a considerable swelling between his pads. At first I thought perhaps he had a foreign body in his foot, but radiographs showed that it was a mass. A biopsy determined it to be a very aggressive spindle cell sarcoma. Cancer. Unfortunately, removing only the mass was not an option,
as it was in the center of his foot. It was ugly, angry, and painful. I had no choice but to consider amputation.
The usual and recommended procedure is to amputate the entire leg. In Ewan’s case, I felt this was extreme. The problem was with his foot. The rest of his leg was perfectly fine. Knowing that prosthetics are available for dogs, I consulted with Dr. Rosemary LoGiudice and Dr. Arlene Rodriguez at Integrative Pet Care Hanover Park (IPCHP) to see if that would be an option for Ewan. They both gave a rousing endorsement for pursuing a limb-sparing amputation (removing only the foot) and getting fit for a prosthesis. Having use of four legs will help reduce future strain on his back, hips, and knees as he ages. Dr. Lisa Starr, also with Integrative Pet Care Hanover Park, became my liaison between Orthopets, the manufacturer of animal assistive devices, and our surgeon Dr. Abel at VCA Aurora. It was important that the surgery be performed in such a way that would give the prosthesis a successful fit. Dr. Starr and Dr. Abel were very dedicated to Ewan’s case and did an incredible job collaborating prior to and during the surgery.
Three weeks after the surgery, Ewan met with Dr. Starr and Katie at IPCHP for measurements, photographs, video, and a casting of Ewan’s leg. All of this information was sent to Orthopets. Two weeks later, our custom prosthetic device arrived. We met with Dr. Starr again to assure we had a good fit. Ewan took to it right away! He was putting it down and wanting to take a few steps on it within minutes. Days later, he was back to going for walks. Ewan gets regular massages to keep him flexible and comfortable. He also does a variety of exercises that assist in teaching him how to properly use his new leg.
I’ve been thrilled with my decision to preserve Ewan’s leg. The prosthesis has given Ewan the freedom to enjoy life as he always has. I don’t know if I would have had the courage to make this decision if it weren’t for crew at Integrative Pet Care Hanover Park. I am very grateful for their constant support and encouragement throughout this process.”
– Allison Brudney
“Ewan and Allison are an inspiring team to work with! Ewan has adjusted to walking in his prosthetic very quickly, despite some initial medical setbacks. Allison has been extremely diligent with his home exercises, helping him to learn how to use the prosthetic and improve his gait with it. She keeps a close eye on his skin to ensure that no sores are developing from wearing his device. Through both of their hard work, Ewan’s mobility and quality of life have benefited. Having more normal biomechanics walking with the prosthetic, instead of walking on three legs, lessens stress to the rest of Ewan’s body and in turn is helping to keep him more active and comfortable for the long term. They are great example of the results that can be achieved with having a motivated dog and a dedicated and involved owner! We are so honored to have the opportunity to provide Ewan with his prosthetic and to be a part of their team! Keep up the good work guys!”
– Lisa Starr, DVM, CVA, CCRA, CVSMT
“Ewan has a great spirt and drive and has been easy going through this entire process. He has been a joy to work with and I am thrilled with his progress.”
– Arlene Rodriguez DVM, CCRT
“He is such a strong willed pup and not letting health problems keep him from trotting around. He looks great in his new prosthetic! And is getting around wonderfully. I’m so glad he is doing well with his new magic shoe and is not letting anything hold him back. Love working with him. ”
– Katie Sulzmann CVMRT, ATC
Make a difference!
Each month we ask the POTM to choose an organization that they would like promoted during their month. Ewan has chosen the Bialy’s Wellness Foundation. BWF helps provide necessary supplies and medical care for pets with chronic mobility related conditions. Check out their website for more info on what they are about and how you can help! www.bialyswellnessfoundation.org
“Hi: I would like to introduce myself… My name is Chevy and I am a Golden Retriever, but more important than that I am also a service dog. My boy’s name is Nate and he has had a rough start in life. Nate has Down Syndrome, had a tracheostomy and battled leukemia. My job is to help him over the rough spots like blood draws, kiss away his tears and track him if he wanders away from our Mom and Dad. I was born at 4 Paws for Ability in Xenia, Ohio and that’s where I learned to become a service dog. After my boy came to get me, we became great friends. I even learned how to jump off a dock and swim. My boy learned how to throw a toy for me and the next thing you know it we had people cheering and clapping for us at competitions.
As you know sometimes, Golden’s get hip dysplasia and unfortunately, I was one of them. Approximately a year and a half ago, I had an injury; because of that injury my hip dysplasia was also discovered. My Mom and Dad took me to IPC and met Dr. Rosemary.
With chiropractic, acupuncture, laser treatments, massage, exercise and underwater treadmill I am back to running, playing and going to school with my boy.
I continue to see Dr. Rosemary to make sure I can continue my very important job as a service dog for my boy.
I love going to see Dr. Rosemary, Anna and Allison in addition to all the pretty girls at the front desk that give me a ton of attention. My Mom tells me all the time how lucky I am to be able to go and see Dr. Rosemary. I think so too!!” – Chevy
“Like many dogs and “their boys”, Chevy and Nate are buddies! A few years ago, Chevy became lame in his hind legs, and could no longer participate in many of the activities they did together, such as dock diving. This, in and of itself, was sad, but it goes beyond fun and games because Chevy is Nate’s service dog. Chevy could not participate fully in his job to help Nate in daily activities. I was tickled to meet Chevy, Nate, and Nate’s folks and provide a therapy plan that I believed would help Chevy. I remember telling Nate’s mom that it would not be a “quick fix”, but I was confident that if they would stick to the plan, that Chevy could return to full function. Within a few months, Chevy was “back on duty”, side by side with Nate for all daily activities, including accompanying Nate to school and returning to their dock-diving activities of “Nate the Great and Chevy the Wonder Dog”! Chevy’s “people” are great about keeping him healthy, lean and fit and working with him at home, feeding him all the right things, and making sure Chevy receives periodic therapeutic massages, acupuncture, and veterinary spinal manipulative therapy
(“veterinary chiropractic”) at Integrative Pet Care Hanover Park.
Chevy, after all, is not just a companion, and family member, he’s a working companion and integral to “his boy’s” well-being!”
-Rosemary J. LoGiudice, DVM, Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation (DACVSMR), CCRT, CVA, CVSMT, Fellow of the CoAC
“Chevy is a true joy! He is a genuinely sweet, kind soul. When it is time for massage, he calmly lies down and puts his head on my lap. He enjoys every minute! Tania is a wonderful advocate for his well-being. Having hip dysplasia, routine massages help keep Chevy comfortable, flexible, and moving freely. I feel honored to work with such a special dog.”
– Alison Brudney, CPDT
“It has beem a pleasure working with Chevy and his family. Chevy came to us in December of 2014 for left hind limb lameness. During Chevy’s initial exam we learned that he is a service dog for the Kothera’s son Nate. Our goal for Chevy’s therapy was to decrease his pain stemming from hip dysplasia and increase his rear limb muscle tone so that he can continue being a service dog for Nate. Chevy adjusted well to the underwater treadmill and was a pro at learning new exercises! Keep up the great work Tania, Ken, Nate and Chevy!”
– Anna Alberth, CVT, CCRA
Make a Difference
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an organization that is close to their heart to promote. This month Chevy has chosen 4 Paws for Ability!
Mission and Goals – 4 Paws For Ability
Enrich the lives of children with disabilities by the training and placement of quality, task trained service dogs to provide increased independence for the children and assistance to their families.
Enrich the lives of veterans from recent conflicts who have lost the use of their limbs or their hearing while in active combat.
Educate the public to accept the use of service dogs in public places.
“Well we are Miller’s 3rd home and his FOREVER home! One of my wife’s friends had to get rid of him and he instantly became family. When this friend brought him to the condo we were living in at the time the first thing he did was pee on our blinds. We knew he loved us. He was 3 at the time and hadn’t really had any training so there were some challenges, but he’s a great dog and very lovable. He will swim for hours and loves being outside. If he’s not getting what he perceives as enough attention he will let us know by barking his displeasure. We couldn’t love him more and we know he feels the same. In terms of his injury, by the time we were pointed to you guys I really thought it was going to be a bad ending. He could really only get up to eat and use the bathroom. He was spending 90% of the day laying in our smallest bathroom in the house. Needless to say it was a very, very sad sight. His eyes were sad and he was in pain. It was very tough. Theresa is better at staying positive than me, but I thought if he even got back to 50% we’d be lucky. Some days I didn’t even think he’d get there.
After our first visit, which was really an assessment, I felt better and had much more hope.
It was very nice to hear some positives after hearing things like he needed surgery ASAP, ‘”He’s 7 so he’s only got a couple good years left regardless,” etc. After his first session in the 4 week program he was better. It was essentially all manual massage to help with spasms (after we were told by others he wasn’t having any spasms) and to get knots out. I know it was painful for him but we saw results almost immediately. When we used the Assisi loop on him he actually relaxed enough to lay down and fall asleep somewhere besides the little bathroom. Every time after he just got better and better. I was sure he’d get back to at least 80%.
After a few weeks of manual massage, water tread (where he claimed the yellow rubber ducky as his own) and stretching we were able to get him out for walks again. It took some time for him to get his strength back, but I am VERY happy to say that he is 100% back to his old, crazy self.
The one thing we haven’t let him do yet is swim, but we are headed to the U.P. of Michigan this weekend where he will have a week of sandy beaches and water to swim his little heart out. We can’t wait to get him there, he loves it and will swim all day if we let him. I am confident that he won’t have any setbacks, but if he does it is beyond comforting to know we have a place to take him where the ENTIRE staff truly cares.
Our entire family sincerely thanks you all for giving us our Miller back! Miller thanks you too!!!!!
Thank you all so, so much!!!”
“Miller came to us in severe pain with a suspected disc injury to his neck. With a combination of medication, rehabilitation and integrative therapies, we were able to turn Miller around. He is now a happy, healthy dog able to run, jump and play to his heart’s content. We are so proud of his recovery.”
– Amber Ihrke, DVM, CCR, CVA, CVSMT
“I remember when Miller walked into his initial evaluation. He could not reach down to the floor to get a treat, he yelped turning his head and he did not want to move as he appeared to be afraid of the pain. After Miller’s pain was addressed by Dr. Amber and I; I performed several sessions of manual therapy, Miller initiated exercising in the underwater treadmill with Katie. We watched him gain more confidence with his ability to move his head without the fear of pain. It seemed each time Miller came into see us his owners were telling us new activities he could now do at home, such as barking and getting up on the couch. Towards the end of his underwater treadmill sessions, Miller surprised us when he shook the water off himself without any signs of pain.
Miller’s spunk and zest for life finally returned to him at the end of his treatment plan. It was an amazing transformation that Miller underwent, from a dog so much in pain he could not move, to one that moved so easily and freely you would never have known he was the same dog.
I enjoyed finally meeting the REAL Miller!”
– Valerie Williams, PT, DPT, ATRIC, CCRP
“At Miller’s first appointment he was in so much pain I couldn’t even touch him. He is so sweet and wanted to be loved, but was in too much pain. He could barely walk and couldn’t lift his head at all. But, after starting him on different pain medication he was like a new dog. His pain had lessened enough that we could really work on him.
Each session he would be more and more interested in his surroundings and what we were doing with him. Since then he is a crazy man when he comes in! I have a hard time getting him to sit still now!
We can finally see the real Miller and it’s been a wonderful journey to see such an amazing transformation.”
– Katie Neforos, CVT, CCRA
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an organization that is close to their heart to promote. This month Miller has asked that we tell you about the The Caspian Foundation.
“Eleven years ago I was practicing in Oswego, Illinois and was well known for my affection for bulldogs. One day a lady from small local shelter showed up with a white bulldog puppy in her arms. Having heard of my affinity for bulldogs she asked if I was interested in adopting Molly. Molly was purchased from a pet shop by someone who discovered his significant other was allergic to dogs. Unable to return Molly to the pet store he surrendered her to the shelter.
Of course I agreed to adopt her immediately and then realized I needed to check with my significant other. We currently had an English bulldog, Rosie, and thought they might be good company for each other. Over the course of her time with us Molly has survived two English bulldogs, Rosie and Matilda. The loss of Matilda in October was devastating for us and Molly. She was already overweight and despondent over the loss of her companion. Molly is quite a character and as a puppy liked to collect twigs from our yard and deposit them by the back door. She also liked to follow me when I mowed the lawn and if I was wearing gym shorts she liked to sneak up behind me and tug at them. She has grown into a faithful and loving dog and vigilant watch dog. She loves everyone and hasn’t an aggressive bone in her body.
We became concerned after losing Matilda because Molly’s weight brought complications such as allergies, urinary infections and arthritis.
Her veterinarian Dr. Jeff Palmer from the Burr Ridge Veterinary Clinic referred us to Integrative Pet Care for her weight and to help with the arthritis and endurance. Her turnaround has been nothing short of miraculous.
Under the direction of Dr. Ihrke and her therapists Valerie Williams and Katie Neforos, Molly has lost 18 pounds thus far, has regained her mobility and now in the Fit Club is working on her endurance. The investment in her care with IPC has certainly paid dividends and we couldn’t be more pleased. She looks forward to her weekly visit with Katie and the time on the treadmill or agility course designed for her. Almost 12 years of age, we hope she will be with us for a long time.”
– Dr. Bob and Carol Baron
“Molly came to us from Burr Ridge Animal Hospital hoping that we could get some weight off of her.
At her first visit in February, she could hardly walk more than a few feet without resting and could only stand for a few minutes at a time.
We immediately made some diet changes and started her on an exercise program. Now, in June, she has lost 18 pounds and is running, playing and is more energetic. She has been a great patient and her owners have been fantastic partners in her weight loss.”
– Dr. Amber Ihrke, DVM, CCRT, CVA, CVSMT
“Molly is the sweetest Bulldog you’ll ever meet. She loves everyone she meets and has a bucket full of slobbery kisses to give to all. She has the best parents who are incredibly dedicated to her well-being and simply adore her out of great love. When Dr. Baron presented Molly to me this winter, she had been gaining more and more weight. She had reached a point where she could walk but a few feet without stopping to rest. She was losing her muscle strength while getting heavier and heavier. Previous diets helped for a short time, but nothing lasted. Her calories were restricted. Bloodwork looked normal. We needed to get her moving to build up her muscles and create a bigger engine to raise her metabolism and burn more calories. Yet, she could move but a few feet without tiring out.
She wasn’t going to lose the weight with conventional methods. She needed assistance. Integrative Pet Care of Homer Glen was her savior. With a regular program of assistive training on the underwater treadmill and further guidance on dietary management, she slowly started to melt the weight off. More importantly, she started to build muscle strength to do more and more exercises at home.
Today, her sweetness shines even more as she feels so much better. She’s going for walks around the neighborhood and seeing the bigger world again that she could only watch from the porch before. Big thanks to Mom and Dad for their hard work in helping Molly lose the weight. Also, big thanks to Integrative Pet Care for their guidance and help. They gave us back our Molly, slobbery kisses and all!”
– Dr. Jeff Palmer, DVM, Burr Ridge Veterinary Clinic
“When I first started working with Molly, she could only walk for 30 seconds at a time. Since then she is up to 5 minutes and has lost 18 pounds. She has so much energy now and seems to really enjoy our sessions now. She is a joy to work with and I look forward to seeing her every week.”
– Katie Neforos, CVT, CCRA
“I remember when Molly came for her initial evaluation. She had to take several breaks to walk from the waiting area
to the exam room (about 15-20 feet). She had trouble standing for more than a few minutes during our examination
and she was significantly overweight. Molly, her parents and the IPC rehab team worked diligently to get Molly back in shape. After just four weeks of therapy, Molly was able to walk from the waiting room to the underwater treadmill
(over 100 feet) without stopping to rest. She was standing to eat and completed her exercises on land without showing signs of fatigue.
At Molly’s re-check exam, I could not believe she was the same dog that I saw at her initial evaluation. She was spunky, full of energy and wanted to keep exercising during her sessions.
Molly is a great example of what a difference it makes when a dog loses weight and how having extra weight on your dog can affect their ability to live a full and happy life.”
– Valerie Williams, PT, DPT, ATRIC, CCRT
Make a Difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose a NFP organization to promote during their reign. This month, Molly has chosen the Chicago English Bulldog Rescue,
Chicago English Bulldog Rescue (CEBR for short) and our volunteers have been helping pure-bred bullies and their families for almost 10 years now. We are a licensed Illinois shelter and a 501c3 charitable organization. The care we provide our English Bully rescues exceeds any you will find from a breed rescue…heck, any rescue! This love includes a high quality diet, the best veterinary care around from a bulldog specialist, and behavioral evaluations of the highest quality.
Please check out their website for more info on how you can help CEBR!
I adopted Max 14 years ago. He had been picked up as a stray in Gary, IN and was living in a foster home. Max has been my shadow ever since. He is an incredible dog, with a unique and quirky personality. At the time I adopted Max, I lived with my parents, but my father passed away after an illness about two years later. My mom died three years ago as well (she came to live with my husband and me while in hospice care). While both my parents were ill, Max stayed faithfully by their sides and was a huge source of comfort for them both. He chooses who he loves very carefully, but once he loves you, he does so with all his heart.
He has struggled with anxiety and fear aggression throughout his time with me, but is as sweet as can be with children and people with disabilities. He is so sweet with my toddler and adores our new baby.
Max has really come out of his shell since undergoing treatments for his injury. He is much more receptive to meeting new people and sometimes allows strangers to approach and pet him (this is a big deal). I really believe it’s because he has experienced such kindness and positive interactions with the staff at IPC.
When Max started with IPC, he was unable to use his hind legs. He had no pain response in the right and little in his left. Seeing his progress over the last couple of months has felt like a miracle to us. I love when I go in for therapy with him, because he seems so proud to show me around and show off his skills. The staff is amazing…it is clear they love my boy, and he loves them right back. I can’t express how thankful we are that we found IPC!
“It has been such a joy to see Max blossom both physically and emotionally while undergoing physical rehabilitation with us. Initially, he was nervous to come in and take treats from us and was unable to walk outside of his cart. Now, he is excited to see us, looks for food, and is game for whatever we ask him to do during his sessions. We are so thrilled that rehab has helped him to walk independently again. It’s been an honor to share in his success story. Despite being 14 year old, Max looks more active and younger every time he comes to visit us!”
– Dr. Lisa Starr, DVM, CCRP, CVA, CVSMT
I love coming into work and helping Max! He is such an inspiration and the sweetest boy.
I was truly amazed with how fast he progressed, he does not look like the same dog that came in only a few months ago.
Everyone at IPC and HPACC love seeing him and are always cheering him on. Great job Max!!!
– Katie Sulzmann CVMRT, ATC
Make a Difference!
We ask our POTM to choose a NFP group to promote and this is what Max’s family said:
We are big supporters of the Live Like Roo Foundation, which provides care packages to dogs with cancer. That’s where we would love a donation in Max’s name to be sent. They even sent Max a care package when I contacted them for donation information. It’s a 501c3 charity, so the donation is tax deductible. It can be sent to the following:
Live Like Roo Foundation
c/o Sarah Lauch, 5830 North Melvina, Chicago, IL 60646
Or via PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org
Baxter is a blue tick beagle hound who was born on August 31, 2004. We have had him since he was 9 weeks old. He is my first dog and our baby. We cannot remember what life was like before him as he has been with us for half of the 21 years that we have been married.
When Baxter was 6 he developed IVDD in his neck. It was a very trying time for us as it happened suddenly and he was on multiple powerful medications for over 3 weeks. We were hoping that crate rest would have helped him but the pain became unbearable for him. In addition I (Sharon) was out of work for over 17 months and we worried that the expensive surgery to fix his disc would not be affordable for us and we would have to put him down. God was good to us and provided a specialist, Dr. Zachary Niman who operated on Baxter and saved his life. With a lot of love and kisses he survived and taught us the power of unshakable faith which he has in Jerome and I.
I never saw a dog fight through pain like he did and needless to say it is one of the reasons that I think he brings so much joy to those who know him.
In November of 2015 while playing hide and go seek with me Baxter injured his CCL. He did it in an instant and due to the fact that he is 11 we were worried about going through another tough surgery. A few years after the IVDD he had a minor relapse which he worked through and also had been diagnosed with early stage mitral valve disease of which he shows no symptoms. So after hearing this bad news from the vet who had just operated on him yet again to remove a large lipoma, we decided to look into rehabilitation. That is when we were blessed to find Integrative Pet Care of Homer Glen.
Words cannot express how we feel about the staff and how they have wrapped their arms around us and Baxter. From day one they treated us as family.
Baxter has gone through 2 cycles of treatment. When he first went to them he had trouble walking and his body had become severely misaligned since he was not putting pressure on his left back leg where the tear was. Through weekly sessions of acupuncture, manual manipulation, treadmill and hydrotherapy we watched Baxter get better in front of our eyes. Dr. Amber suggested natural supplements to strengthen his legs and body while he was undergoing treatment. Baxter realized he was getting better and soon started to look forward to his weekly visits. It is an investment in time that you have to be willing to make, but the results are well worth it.
During his second cycle we ordered a custom made leg brace from OrthoPets for him. The team at Integrative Pet Care helped us with the measurements and fitting. Then once he got it they helped him learn how to use it. The treatments were so good until Baxter was walking very well by the time we got the brace; his limb was still a bit unstable. After weeks of the brace with the treatment plan, we need to now keep him on a leash because he walks better now than when he was young. He is enjoying his walks with Jerome and seeing his friends in our neighborhood and they asked about him when he was not able to get around. Before you take your baby for surgery for any limb issue I strongly suggest that you reach out to the team at Integrative Pet Care for a consultation. Our babies are worth it and it is by far
the best decision that we ever made.
Baxter will be 12 this year and we feel so blessed that he is still with us and doing so well. His presence is proof that God grants us the gifts of faith, strength, and courage even in our pets. Dogs in particular depend on their owners to love and protect them when they are sick. No matter how Baxter is feeling he looks to Jerome and I to be there for him and he has enough faith to count on us finding help for him. How blessed we have been to have him in our lives and I am sure that when he leaves us for a little while I will hear that beautiful bay someday and know that where we will be going will be heaven since that is where he will be.
Baxter is a Beagle that came to us with cranial cruciate disease of his left knee and was not a surgical candidate. He was fitted for a custom stifle orthotic and worked hard in his rehabilitation to get his mobility back. Baxter has a one-of-a-kind personality and is always keeping us entertained with his antics! He is great fun to work with and is a joy for Jerome and Sharon.
– Dr. Amber Ihrke, DVM, CCRT, CVA, CVSMT
Baxter is such a happy pup that came to us with a torn cruciate. He was having difficulty getting around and could not be his happy-go-lucky self.
We fitted Baxter with a stifle orthosis to help stabilize his knee and allow him to put more weight on his leg. Baxter participated in underwater treadmill and therapeutic exercises to help him get used to wearing his brace. It took him a little while, but now Baxter runs around all over with his stifle brace. I love watching Baxter come to therapy, always with a smile on his face. He now can enjoy life like he wants to and he does so in style with his camouflage brace. Through the use of the orthotic device, Baxter is able to live a long and happy life.
– Valerie Williams, PT, DPT, ATRIC, CCRP
We work to help pets that need carts, orthotics, and/or prosthetic devices in order to live an independent and full life.
We also accept donations in the form of gently used carts, orthotic devices, TENS/NMES units, or other therapy
“We rescued Laney when she was 5 months old, we got her because we were looking for a companion for our 8 month old Rottweiler Chance, wanted them to grow old together. Unfortunately, life happened and our beloved Chance was diagnosed with bone cancer at only 6 years old. I only share this story because that was Laney’s best friend. Laney went into a depression after that in fact we were afraid we might lose her to dying from a broken heart. I started taking her places with me- car rides to work with me, puppy parks, and endless walks and of course her favorite thing is our in-ground pool. Just add a Frisbee and her day is complete. Laney had a close call with cancer in 2013, we found a tiny lump on her hind quarter. I immediately took her to her vet and had it aspirated. It came back stage 2 mast cell. Surgery was scheduled within 2 days and, happy to say, surgery was a success- they got it all and clean margins. That same year she started limping.
Since her vet could not diagnose it again, I took her to the U of I, where she was diagnosed with an overstretched tendon. Surgery would not have helped so I got her into the Chicago Medical Therapy in Worth. She was in therapy for almost 2 years and in those 2 years I found a few more lumps on her I took her immediately to the U of I because of her past issue with cancer. They suggested surgery ASAP, thankfully they came back benign. So Laney has had some health issues, however, you would not know it.
She is the sweetest dog I have ever known. She has manners…LANEY was involved in puppy training plus agility for 3 years with her BFF Chance, Laney retrieves ANYTHING! SHE ONCE BROUGHT ME A BOTTLE CAP! She has been through a lot of things in her life, good and bad but she has always made me smile and laugh.
Her injury occurred the weekend of labor day weekend last year; once again with U of I and diagnosed her with a torn tendon and told me they felt she also had Cushing’s disease which they WOULD NOT DO SURGERY if that was the case. Unfortunately, she does have Cushing’s that explains a lot of her medical problems; they told me at the U of I to get her into therapy. However, when I called the place she went to some years ago for the overstretched tendon the vet left me a message stating he didn’t feel he could help her.
I was blessed to find you guys. Day one we had a plan in place. When her orthotics came in we had the first fitting and off she went.
She was just so happy to be able to walk like a normal dog again. When her Magic boots are put on her she gets so excited she barks and smiles ear to ear.
She works hard at her therapy and even though Laney will be 10 this June 2nd you wouldn’t know it when she has her Magic Legs on. She is a different dog today than when we first met with Dr Amber 3 months ago.
The decision was easy for me, let her spend her senior years just lying around and die, or be aggressive and get her back to living again! Laney has been with me through her puppy years, her teenage years, and now I am here for her in her senior years, I wouldn’t have it any other way, I am looking forward to many more years with this special girl of mine. Thank you for picking Laney for Patient of the Month! She well deserves it!”
“Laney had injuries to both her Achilles Tendons that made mobility difficult, however with the help of her orthotics and rehabilitation therapy, she is now enjoying daily walks with her owner! Laney is a great success story of the power of orthotics to enhance life quality.”
-Dr. Amber Ihrke DVM, CCRT, CVA, CVSMT
“Laney is a walking advertisement as to how orthotic devices can change not only the mobility but overall life of a dog. Laney could not walk on her toes like a “normal” dog because of injuries to the tendons in her legs. I could see it in her eyes she had the will to move but didn’t have the way. We discussed at her initial evaluation the use of orthotic devices on her rear limbs to give her the support and stability in order for her to walk “normally” again. Laney’s owner was 100% committed to helping Laney regain her mobility, so we decided to have OrthoPets in Broomfield, Colorado, custom make orthotic devices for her.
While we awaited Laney’s devices, she continued with therapy using the underwater treadmill to swim. We needed her to increase her endurance and lose weight so when she received her devices she could walk in them for more than five minutes without fatiguing.
I shall never forget the day Laney wore her devices for the first time. I put them on her, with assistance she stood up and then walked for the first time like a “normal” dog. It reminded me of how I felt when my sons took their first steps as toddlers. I was scared they were going to fall but overjoyed they finally walked on their own. This was exactly how I felt about Laney. It was an amazing feeling being able to help give her the ability to walk again without requiring any help.
Now, Laney is walking two to three times a day for twenty minutes each compared to only walking for five minutes before having her “magic boots” as her owner calls them. Laney has learned how to sit and stand with her devices without any assistance. She walks over thresholds, rocks, grass or any other obstacle in her way without losing her balance. Laney continues to have therapy with her devices to strengthen her legs and increase her endurance but she is well on her way to returning to her previous active lifestyle.
Laney now has the will AND the way with her orthotic devices! (Thank you OrthoPets!)”
-Valerie Williams, PT, DPT, ATRIC, CCRP
Make a Difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose a group they’d like us to tell you about. This month Laney has chosen Kodi’s Club Rescue. Learn more about them here and consider making a donation!