Bijou is a rescue. We found her on-line at the Animal Rescue Fund (ARF) in Amelia, OH. She is 2 1/2, and we got her when she was 10 weeks. She is a Bichon/Shih Tzu. She has the temperament of both the breeds, and absolutely is the most loving and sweet dog we have owned (we have had two other Bichon, a Karin Terrier, and a Black Lab, so we have had great dogs all along). She really loves our grandchildren, especially Giovanna.
She is playful, and that is when, a year ago, I noticed her favoring the right rear leg. Ultimately she had surgery on it for a torn ACL, and the surgeon recommended follow-up therapy at Integrative Pet Care in Homer Glen. We couldn’t have been happier with that choice.
The staff has been accommodating, professional, and clearly likes dogs. Our therapist, Val, has become a friend, and during the more than six months of rehab, provided insight and her professional abilities.
Bijou, while not back to her pre-surgery ways, is significantly better. She only slightly favors her leg, and with time its strength will continue to improve. Val has shown us how to exercise Bijou’s leg at home. At the moment she is not scheduled to return to IPC for further therapy, unless of course, something changes. Thank you for picking Bijou as patient of the month. I told her of this great honor, and she is very excited!
– J Denny & Karen Schillings
“Bijou came to us with a history right stifle injury, right stifle surgical stabilization and severe arthritis. Two months after her procedure, she had a persistent lameness in the right rear leg, and started rehabilitation therapy with IPC. Over the course of several weeks, we were able to improve her mobility and decrease the lameness associated with her right rear leg so that she is now able to go for walks and is much more comfortable with her daily activities. Bijou was always in a good mood for her therapy and I always looked forward to seeing what bows would be in her ears at each visit.”
– Dr. Amber Ihrke DVM, CCRT, CVA, CVSMT
“Bijou is such a sweet little ball of fluff. She always greets me with a smile on her face and her tail wagging away. Bijou came to us after having her right cranial cruciate ligament surgically repaired. She was doing well with rehab and then all of a sudden she started putting less weight on her right rear leg. Her sweet personality also suddenly changed where she was more hesitant to have her right rear limb touched. In her own way, Bijou was telling me that something was wrong with her knee. After consulting with her surgeon, he decided to remove the suture in her knee. After her surgeon removed the suture, Bijou returned to her sweet self who loved exercising with both underwater and land treadmills. She progressed well in rehab and graduated from a treatment plan. Then she returned to us for a maintenance plan because she started to limp again when the seasons changed to the colder weather. Bijou is a great example of how important it was for me to not only listen to her owner about her behavior at home but also monitor how she was tolerating her therapy sessions with me. Even though she couldn’t verbally tell me something was wrong, her change in personality and her regression in therapy alerted me that something was causing her pain in her knee. Now, Bijou has returned to her active lifestyle at home including playing with the grandchildren. When you watch her walk today, you would never even know she had surgery on her knee.”
We are so proud to congratulate Erin Kowalski for winning Pet Plan’s Pet Parent of the Year award for 2016. Erin takes excellent care of her many IPC patients, she also works tireless hours for Bialy’s Wellness Foundation, a foundation that she created to provide families and rescue organizations with special needs animals the equipment, medical care, rehabilitative therapy, training, resources and support necessary to optimize the quality of life of their wonderful animals. You can learn more about all of the amazing work that Erin does through BWF at bialyswellnessfoundation.org.
Spend Valentine’s Day with the one you love! Sunday, Feb 14th from 12pm to 4pm IPC Chicago is offering a 30 minute couple’s massage- 30 min for you with Daniel Martin, LMT and 30 min for your pooch with Doris Martinkus, CCRP, CCMT.
In 2015, Keewee fell off a golf cart and was not weight bearing on the right rear leg. It was found that Keewee had suffered a fracture of right tibia and had 2 surgical repairs in May and then an additional surgery in August.
“Keewee had one of the worst fractures I had ever seen. Her recovery was truly a collaborative effort of our rehab team, her surgeon and most importantly her owners. To see Keewee running and playing with her family and enjoying life after four intense months of therapy is one of the greatest comebacks I’ve witnessed in 20+ years in veterinary medicine.”
– Dr. Amber Ihrke, Keewee’s IPC veterinarian
“I wanted to let you all know how very lucky and blessed we feel to have found you all. We have been on a very long stressful journey with Keewee since May to say the least. She has officially graduated and I think we are a little in shock! The time and thought that you all put into Keewee’s care means so much to our family. We were thinking we were going to lose her since amputation was not an option for us. Her injuries were so severe and devastating. To watch Keewee go through so much trauma made our heads spin and only to keep receiving bad news. I was lying in bed one night and thought to myself….If Keewee was a human what would I do-get a second opinion. After putting the word out to multiple dog loving friends and asking physicians I work with “what should I do with my dog” my girlfriend who is a vet tech that works at one of the offices That Dr. Ihrke and Val have given information to suggested we start there-we decided to give it a shot. Mike and I probably seemed pretty reluctant when we first met everyone, but it was another big decision that had to be made for Keewee ASAP to hopefully preserve her leg and another financial decision for our family. WOW!! We sure made the right decision!”
– Gina Schmidt, Keewee’s mom
Dr. Amber Ihrke referred Keewee to Dr. Jankovitz at Premier Veterinary Group in Crestwood for a surgical consultation. Keewee’s owners were afraid of amputation but Dr. Jankovitz was able to calm their fears.
“Dr. Ihrke thank you for sending us to Dr. Jankovits. I can say that I’m very in tune with Keewee-she is very high maintenance without a fractured leg so along this ride I’ve learned a lot more from her. First off- if she likes a stranger and how she responds to them. While we were sitting in the waiting room waiting to meet Dr. Jankovits in august one week after we were told her leg may have to be amputated, Keewee was on my lap with her black sling on, with other dogs and people in the waiting room and you’ve all seen her-she’s like a baby and those type of distractions don’t phase her. Dr. Jankovits walked out to the waiting room and Keewee’s head popped up and she watched his every move. She liked him. He looked at her and I whispered to Keewee-“is that the man that’s going to fix your leg.” Mind you at the other facilities she wouldn’t even look at the people there and you could tell she was very agitated. When we were in the room with Dr. Jankovits deciding what our options were Keewee laid by his feet which also means Keewee likes you otherwise her nose is shoved in the corner! Dr. Jankovits- you squatted down and started petting Keewee. I had tears in my eyes. We had options and hope again.”
“What can I say about Keewee? Keewee is just Keewee. She came to us with an unstable rear limb that her owners were trying to avoid having amputated. Through Keewee’s stubbornness, her owners’ hard work at home and rehab through IPC, Keewee not only kept her leg but returned to her crazy antics at home. Keewee is an example of a patient who greatly benefited from rehab, even though she never really enjoyed coming to see us. I loved seeing how Keewee progressed with rehab, especially watching her spunky personality return as she felt better in her leg. I knew we had done our job at IPC, when her owner sent us a video of Keewee army crawling under a bed and then running around the room barking at the camera. Keewee was her old self once again!”
“You are all amazing at what you do and we the Schmidt family can’t thank you enough for all the time and love you put into Keewee. She is our silly little bully that we love so very much. Please pass along to both of your staffs how much all of their care and compassion has meant to us through Keewee’s journey. I know Keewee will continue to have checkups with you both, but I just wanted you all to know from the bottom of our hearts how much everything you have all done for her means to us. It’s been such a long road and it’s surreal that she has officially graduated and we can breathe and relax a little. Keewee is and always has been a very silly bully. She goes wherever she can with us and loves being part of the action. Keewee loves to snuggle! She is amazing with our kids and a big part of our family and she knows it!”
Make a difference!
This month, Keewee would like you to know about Paws Chicago, a shelter in the heart of the city that is also a resource to the animal community. If you make a donation it would make Keewee’s day!
When it comes to pain in cats, it’s sometimes difficult to know if your feline friend is experiencing discomfort. As they age, cats are susceptible to a variety of ailments, some of which can cause mobility issues while others can result in the need for surgery. Arthritis, for instance, is something that occurs commonly in cats, especially as they advance in years. Whether as a result of an injury or overall wear and tear, arthritis is the deterioration of cartilage within the joint, which causes the bones to rub together. This rubbing is often painful and can negatively affect a cat’s behavior.
“Doogie’s acupuncture/chiropractic treatments helped him gradually go from a low-key, sickly cat that mostly slept all day to a playful, curious little dude who had a swagger in his step and sparkle in his eye.”
– Jen, Doogie’s mom
When cats experience discomfort due to arthritis or other issues such as fractures or deformities, they may start to develop an avoidance to the litter box or lessen the frequency of their grooming as the movement required to do these activities causes them pain. They may find hiding spots or start to vocalize to indicate that something isn’t right.
“Eos, who suffers from a congenital malformation of the pelvic limb, has chiropractic and laser treatments to keep her functioning and pain free. We were given hope that she could adapt to her condition and live a quality life.”
– Denise, Eos’s mom
Maximizing your cat’s quality of life and offsetting the effects of arthritis, other degenerative ailments, or post-surgery aches and pains can be managed through physical rehabilitation. Modalities such as Acupuncture can increase circulation and help release chemicals known as neurotransmitters which decrease pain. Acupuncture can also help with the treatment of allergies, kidney disease and organ dysfunction. Veterinary Spinal Manipulation Therapy (or “Chiropractic”) can help improve mobility and is often times used in conjunction with Therapeutic Massage to maximize these effects. Use of Therapeutic Laser helps reduce inflammation and is also key in managing pain.
“Our cat, Natasha, has osteoarthritis and after treatment (acupuncture, massage, and laser) her left, front paw limp is almost undetectable. She is able to jump up on a chair, something she was unable to do before treatment.”
– Penny, Natasha’s mom
At Integrative Pet Care, we want to equip cat owners with their own tools to help their beloved feline when they can’t be here. Our therapists can give Massage and Therapeutic Exercise demonstrations, where owners learn techniques to manage their pet’s comfort and continue their therapies at home. When it comes to overall wellness, IPC provides many options for therapies that can improve the quality of life for a cat that is suffering from illness, injury or the effects of old age.
“When Tommy developed Stomatitis, he went from 11.5 pounds to 8 in under three months. IPC developed a treatment regiment and schedule which included acupuncture/ chiropractic sessions. It took work and patience, but within a year, Tommy was healthy enough for surgical treatment to treat the Stomatitis.”
– Kitty, Tommy’s mom
Speaking of cats…
Did you see our December 2015 Chicago Patient of the Month, Puck? Check him out!
Nina is a sweet, 8 yr old German shepherd. Nina’s owners adopted her as a puppy from a
shelter in Indiana. She enjoys long walks, playing stick or catch, snuggling with her siblings, (Travis & Isabelle as pictured) mom and dad, and of course being spoiled by her papa. Nina herniated a lumbar disc that left her unable to walk or move without a lot of pain and crying. Amy & Alex took Nina to see a neurologist who wanted to do surgery right away, but after some research and consulting with Dr. Amber at IPC we decided to try therapy. At first she was only able to do E-Stim with the tens unit (and got an awesome haircut- see picture) because of the pain. With some time she was able to add to her plan; manual therapy, underwater treadmill, ROM stretching, acupuncture, and exercises. Dr. Amber and Valerie soon discovered she does anything for peanut butter! It was a long process to get her feeling better, but well worth it. She is now able to go on her walks again and continues to do her stretching and exercises at home to continue with her recovery.
“We are so thankful for Dr. Amber and Val and all the work they put into helping Nina get better! We have nothing but good things to say about IPC and what they did for our fur baby and are forever grateful.”
-Amy and Alex, Nina’s parents
“When Nina came to Integrative Pet Care she was in a lot of pain and facing surgery, with our treatment plan and the dedication of her owners, Nina is a happy, healthy dog today. I am so proud of her and her success. “
-Dr. Amber Ihrke, Nina’s IPC veterinarian
“Nina is a great example of how much rehab can help a dog in pain. Nina came to IPC in so much pain that she cried any time she moved and we could barely touch her during her evaluation without her crying or yelping. Initially, Nina’s owners were given a TENS unit to use every day on Nina at home to decrease her pain level. Within a few sessions, Nina’s pain had significantly improved to allow me to perform manual techniques to decrease her trigger points, muscle spasms and improve her overall range of motion. With the help of Nina’s diligent owners and her therapy at IPC, we were able to return Nina to her old self. She quickly progressed from a dog that couldn’t move without pain to one that would drag her owners into her therapy sessions. My most memorable moment working with Nina is when she came into therapy one day barking and jumping around, acting like she was a young pup. I couldn’t believe she was the same dog we saw at her initial evaluation. Working with great dogs like Nina while helping to improve their lives and happiness is one of the greatest rewards of
Valerie Williams, PT, DPT, ATRIC, CCRP
Make a Difference
Nina would like us to tell you about German Shepherd Rescue, Inc. If you are able to make a donation in her name to them, it would make her day!
German Shepherd Rescue, Inc. is a growing group of volunteers committed to creating a second chance for German Shepherd dogs that, for many reasons, are in need of new homes.
GSR, Inc. is a state licensed, NO KILL animal shelter based in the Chicagoland area.
We are a 501(c)3, non-profit organization. Our income is derived from adoption fees, private donations and fund raising activities, all of which go to care for the dogs.
At Integrative Pet Care we see pets with a diversity of conditions and all of our patients inspire us with their resilience, but our three-legged “tripods” consistently amaze us with their tenacity and joy for life! With some basic lifestyle modifications and a customized rehabilitation plan, tripods can live happy, comfortable lives.
Some three-legged pets are born with congenital abnormalities such as complete or partial lack of a limb. There are also several disorders that can necessitate amputation of a limb, such as traumatic injury or cancer. At IPC we see pets who are missing either front or back limbs and we even see a patient who is missing one of each!
Aala balances herself on the theraball with ease (and the help of a treat)
Tripods face unique challenges in mobility due to alterations in balance and increased load to their remaining limbs. At IPC we focus on therapies that improve balance, strengthen core muscles, maintain healthy joints and soft tissues and stay fit to avoid injury. Home care and proper assistive devices can also help tripods with their mobility. Non-slip floor coverings and harnesses can make a big difference in these pets’ lives (see links below for resources).
After her front limb amputation, Aala adjusted almost immediately, taking on stairs only 12 to 24 hours after surgery. Her parents on the other hand had a more difficult time adapting both to Aala’s new challenges as well as their own uncertainty.
“She had an odd stride in her back legs after the amputation and after ruling out anything medical, it was suggested we try rehabilitation. However, while she has become so much stronger and her stride is now seamless and strong, a lot of the rehab process seemed to help us the most. The whole amputation process was a complete unknown for us. We had no idea what was normal adaption, what changes we should expect or what was okay to do or not do, both for her physically and for us as her caregivers. We learned how to better care for her (at IPC) and also it helped us see all that she could do, despite the surgery. When you go through such a big surgery, seeing all these abilities keeps spirits high.”
-Stewart, Aala’s dad
Henry rests during his session in the resistance pool
Henry, a 13 year old pit mix, is a survivor. This guy has been through a lot, including a cruciate ligament tear and several cancer diagnoses. In 2012, Henry’s left hind limb was amputated due to bone cancer and 11 weeks later he came to IPC. His mom had already made a few modifications for Henry, adding recycled tire tread to the stairs in their home and a harness to assist him. We started working on strengthening Henry’s core and remaining 3 legs with targeted Therapeutic Exercises and walks in the Underwater Treadmill. Henry eventually transitioned to swims in the Resistance Pool and continues to receive Massage and Acupuncture treatments to keep him moving comfortably.
“He’s an incredibly strong dog to start with, so I knew once we began targeting his core muscles and working on his balance he’d respond well. I feel like he’s more confident on the stairs, which is huge since we live on the third floor of a walk-up! IPC gave me the great idea of covering my hardwood floors with yoga mats, and now he can zoom around the house without worrying about slipping.”
–Christine, Henry’s mom
IPC regular and dog-trainer, Emily Stoddard, recently added a new member to her pack- Belgian malinois, Falcor. At 6 months old Falcor had a partial front limb amputation due to trauma of an existing congenital abnormality. Falcor has adapted well to being 3-legged and his swims in the pool keep him strong. To manage the tension he gets from compensating for his amputation, Falcor has Veterinary Spinal Manipulation Therapy (VSMT or “Chiropractic”) as well.
Fal sleeps off his hydro session
“Don’t know what to say other than my tri is awesome! Everyone that meets him feels bad for him, but what they don’t know is that he is the smartest problem solver of my crew with a personality to match.
He doesn’t miss his leg one bit! Falcor is busting stereotypes training to do agility, nose work, and protection sports, so you can see it also doesn’t prohibit him from doing the things he loves. Three legs and he still out runs most every dog he comes across! Out smarts them too! People gave up on Fal, thinking he wouldn’t amount to much due to his birth defect. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to prove them wrong!”
-Emily, Falcor’s mom
Bopper, a young English lab, sustained a traumatic injury while in his original household that required a left front limb amputation. A month after surgery, he found his forever home and his owners brought him to IPC for an evaluation and to learn what maintenance therapies he would need to stay strong. Some modifications to Bopper’s lifestyle helped him to increase his mobility, including a weight loss plan. Maintaining a slim physique is extremely important for all pets, but particularly for three-legged ones. A good harness, booties for traction, a ramp for getting on and off the bed and a therapy plan including Therapeutic Exercise, VSMT and Hydrotherapy were recommended. Bopper has since lost weight, goes for longer walks and has a smoother gait!
Rocky is awesome in the gym for his therapeutic exercises
In September of 2014, Rocky had his left hind leg amputated after a soft tissue injury. About 2 months later, he was evaluated at IPC. Rocky was a happy 1 year old poodle mix who loved to run and chase squirrels. However, he occasionally had trouble getting up, especially on slick surfaces.
“I knew that because he had his surgery at a young age he still had a lot of muscle mass to be developed and I wanted to make sure I could help him support his weight comfortably. Even though he gets around just fine, I wanted to take it to the professionals who could help him strengthen the right areas to prevent any other injury. Working on his core strength helps stabilize him and build muscles that he otherwise wouldn’t be training. I know he is a lot less wobbly because of the therapy he’s had. Not only have I learned so much about his physical needs, but he loves it! He won’t get off the obstacle courses!”
-Mia, Rocky’s mom
Therapists at IPC started Rocky on a program of focused Therapeutic Exercises to improve his strength, endurance and coordination. Currently Rocky continues maintenance therapy at IPC, working out in the gym as well as receiving much-deserved Therapeutic Massage.
“He was around 7 months old, and was extremely active and he wasn’t going to let anything slow him down. Not even major surgery. I have a distinct memory of the moment I took off his surgery cone, and he looked down at his incision and was kind of surprised, like “wait a minute…,” and then that was it. I realized animals don’t have an emotional attachment to their limbs like humans do. He knows he is a little unbalanced but he doesn’t mind. “
Dr. Ridley’s little guy, Lorenzo, had his left hind leg amputated due to a congenital abnormality. Needless to say, he has no problem getting around and into trouble.
Tips and Resources
Because balance is off, having slick floors presents a challenge to tripods. Getting around and getting up and down from a sit or lay can be very difficult without good footing. Yoga mats, carpet squares and area rugs with a good grip on the underside can be used strategically to help your pet navigate your floors and stairs. Also make sure their bed rests on a surface with good traction so that they can get on and off safely.
Yoga mats- if you have long hallways or large areas to cover consider purchasing a yoga mat roll. It is easily cut to size (or shape) and comes in a variety of colors- yogadirect.com carries a good variety.
Carpet tiles- these are also easily customizable and easy to replace. Flor and Home Depot reliably stock these in a variety of colors and textures.
A little help getting up and down stairs, in and out of the car or even at the end of a long walk goes a long way! A strong harness with a well placed handle helps your pet and your back.
(please check with your veterinarian before selecting a harness to make sure it is the proper fit)
Dr. Buzby’s Toe Grips
It’s pretty easy to cover slippery floors at home, but daily life may mean encountering surfaces that impede your pet’s confidence. Your pet may be a good candidate for toe grips, learn more at www.toegrips.com.
Support and Success Stories
For more support, resources and stories of happy tripods, visit tripawds.org!
Come join us in Homer Glen for an evening event of Canine Massage for your pet at Integrative Pet Care! Massages will be done every 15 minute. Massage Packages will be sold for a discounted rate for one night only! We hope to see you then!
Join Doris Martinkus, CCRA, CCMT and Erin Kowalski, NCCMT at our Chicago clinic to learn safe and simple massage techniques for your pet. Pet massage has many benefits including stress reduction, improved circulation, strengthened bond, observation of changes in your pet’s body which may lead to early detection of new problems and pain relief.
Cost for 1 pet and 1 parent is $80, a reservation is required for this class and space is limited so please contact us to guarantee a spot.
(773) 269-2964 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Proceeds from this class benefit:
Providing families and rescue organizations with special needs animals the equipment, medical care, rehabilitative therapy, training, resources and support necessary to optimize the quality of life of their wonderful animals. Our mission is only possible from the generosity of our supporters. Bialy’s Wellness Foundation’s goal is to provide assistance to our sponsored animals for life. Please consider making a donation so that we can continue to provide sponsorship to special needs animals. www.bialyswellnessfoundation.org
“We adopted Peanut in February 2002, she was the last of a litter of Shar-Pei puppies that were found in a box placed in the back of a pickup truck. While in her Foster Mom’s home she was given the nick name “Smart Puppy” because she learned things very quickly. She has always been the dominant one in the canine pack. We were not the first family to try to adopt Peanut, but for whatever reason, the other families did not work out. The day Peanut came to visit us, the lady conducting the home visit from, “Rescue A SharPei” came inside first without Peanut, did her home check and a brief interview with us. She then proceeded to tell us Peanut was leery of new people and we would need to give her space and time to take in her new surroundings and get used to us. She had been in a couple of homes the past few weeks and it was stressful on her. With that in mind my husband and I sat on the floor of the hallway and waited until Linda went back outside and brought Peanut in. Peanut’s first reaction to our home was to walk right over to Chad and climb in his lap, she choose him. Needless to say that wasn’t the first time in her life that she shocked us.
– Amy Hanrahan
Peanut had a very active and successful Agility career until she ruptured her right cranial cruciate ligament at the early age of 5. The nail in the coffin was when she ruptured her left cranial cruciate ligament a year later. Luckily, she was able to transition to Rally Obedience and is the first Shar-Pei in America to earn a Rally Title.
Since Peanut’s first knee surgery, she had been swimming every other week to help keep her active. This seemed to do the trick until she hit about 12 1/2 years old. She was no longer her feisty self and was starting to become a grumpy old lady. She was even going after her siblings when they would try to play with her. When she had to start taking pain medication twice a day, her owners knew they had to do more.
During Peanut’s initial consultation, her mom told us that she is the hands-off type, especially with new people. After her consultation, Dr. Amber came up with a program which including weekly laser, underwater treadmill, and therapeutic exercise. Unfortunately, at the time Peanut was not a candidate for Acupuncture, as it would require too many hands on her. Despite not liking new people, Peanut caught on to her job quick. She loved being able to work in the underwater treadmill and get treats for doing all of her exercises. Before long we were all good friends!
”For a dog that has had two Cranial Cruciate repairs on both her knees, Peanut is moving beautifully. It has been great to see her grow to trust us…..as long as we keep the treats coming.”