Rocko is 12-year-old Weimaraner who participates in upland game hunting across the country. He has achieved the title of Master Hunter, which is the highest rank in hunt test events. Outside of his hunting adventures, Rocko was also a therapy dog who visited nursing homes, hospitals and libraries. Rocko’s mom Mary, who is a veterinary technician, noticed that he had a difficult time keeping his hind end up while standing and was reluctant to run. Being the self-proclaimed overly attentive owner, she consulted with the veterinarian she worked with who suggested rehabilitation therapy.
Rocko met with Dr. Amber Ihrke who prescribed a rehabilitation program which Rocko and his mom diligently followed. “Rocko is an active sporting dog who was showing progressive signs of rear limb weakness. The x-rays of his lumbar spine and pelvis were unremarkable, so his source of weakness was unknown. We started Rocko on a plan of manual therapy, hydrotherapy, therapeutic exercises and chiropractic adjustments and each week Rocko’s mobility, endurance and flexibility improved”, explains Dr. Amber Ihrke.
“Through rehab and the dedication of his owners with his home exercise program, Rocko returned to hunting without any problems or pain in his back. Rocko continues to see us at IPC through a maintenance program. Our goal is to keep an eye on him in order to decrease the likelihood of his back causing him problems in the future.” -Valerie Willaims, one of Rocko’s therapists.
“Rocko has graduated to a maintenance program and is doing well. He is running in the field much better and is playing with the other Weimaraners in the house. Our goal is to continue with therapy and home exercises so he can go on his fall hunt trip to South Dakota; I couldn’t be happier.” – Mary, Rocko’s mom
“Rocko knows that age is only a number; all he wanted to do was get back in the field and run. After completing his initial rehabilitation program, he is doing exactly that! He is a great example of what rehabilitation can give back to older guys. He may not be able to keep up with his baby brother, but he can run and play and do whatever he wants pain free”, gushes his biggest fan & therapist, Katie.
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Rocko has asked us to tell you about Cache Creek Animal Shelter.
Our mission is to rescue and adopt out as many dogs and cats as safely possible, regardless of their age, health (we still rescue if there are health issues) or breed. In an effort to help control the increasing pet population it is our policy that each animal we adopt out is spayed or neutered.
“Ella was originally found on the side of the road by a good Samaritan as a 3 pound, 5-week-old puppy and brought to DuPage County Animal Control. They quickly realized that she was deaf, as she would sleep through all the commotion of animal control in her kennel, not noticing when people walked up and talked to her. I happened to be in the building on the day she arrived and just fell in love with her little face. Patrick and I agreed to foster her for the rescue I was with at the time, thinking it would not take her long to be adopted, and we picked her up on a Friday. By Saturday’s adoption event, she had already decided we were meant to be her parents and she would cry and search for us if anyone else tried to hold her. We adopted her on Monday, joining her big sister Sophia. Ella was an incredibly smart puppy, quickly picking up sign language.
Two days after she graduated from puppy 1 positive reinforcement basic obedience training, at 3.5 months old, she was attacked by a neighbor dog. Ella had her paws up on a chain link fence while the neighbors were petting her. The dog charged at Ella pulling her front left leg up and through the fence, where he viciously shook her around resulting in a broken radius and ulna, 28 puncture wounds, a ripped off paw pad, 6 broken teeth, and the equivalent of shaken baby syndrome. Ella was immediately rushed to first her primary vet and then transferred to the emergency vet where the orthopedic surgeon could repair her leg with a plate and screws. With 3 months of casts being changed every 3-4 days, 24/7 care provided by family and friends and 2 additional surgeries Ella recovered. Unfortunately, the growth plate in her ulna closed prematurely while the radius continued to grow causing a deformity in her leg where the foot points outward.
As she grew, the out-turned foot became more and more pronounced. She was doing very well until she was about 18 months old, when we started noticing less use of her bad leg and signs of pain. Around the same time, she began coughing up/vomiting almost every day after or during busy play, and collapsing onto the floor – appearing similar to heat stroke. We made an appointment with Dr. Harres at All Pets Hospital to address her leg and the vomiting concerns. When no apparent cause was found for the vomiting, he took an x-ray of her leg, which showed a lot of arthritis in her elbow and wrist, the start of fusion in her joints and between the bones, and a hole where one of her bones never healed. He then made the connection that perhaps she was vomiting and collapsing due to pain in the leg and sent us Integrative Pet Care Homer Glen to evaluate options for Ella.” -Stephanie, Ella’s mom
“Ella came to us at 18 months old after a severe injury to her left front leg. She exhibited lameness and pain that leg when she was playing and disliked anyone touching her leg. With a treatment plan of hydrotherapy, manual therapy and therapeutic exercises, Ella has improved weight bearing on her right front leg, has no issues with playing and will now allow petting of her leg. Ella is a great example of pain modulation through rehabilitation.” -Amber Ihrke, DVM, CCRT, CVA, CVSMT
“Integrative Pet Care has been wonderful for our family, by providing resources, information, and high-quality care. It is comforting to see how much the therapists enjoy working with Ella.” -Stephanie
“Ella is an amazing case of how rehab can help to break the pain cycle in a dog. During the initial evaluation, we had a difficult time trying to exam her because she was protective of her limb. We slowly gained her trust through manual therapy and instructed her owner how to perform massage techniques at home. Ella also began walking in the underwater treadmill which allowed her to weight bear more on her limb with decreased pain compared to land. Over the past several weeks, Ella has allowed us to now touch her elbow and front limb without any reaction. Her owners report how she now reaches with the injured limb and they have shown us video of her jumping on and off the couches landing on her left front limb. Ella does not demonstrate any lameness during her gait and besides her mobility improving, she no longer guards or protects her left front leg like we saw during her initial evaluation. Ella can also do “high five” with her injured limb. We just love seeing Ella during her therapy sessions and I’m so happy about how much she has regained through rehab.” -Valerie Williams, PT, DPT, ATRIC, CCRP
“When Ella first came to us, she was very uncomfortable with her left front leg and did not want it to be touched. As she continued through her program and began to feel better you could see her come out of her shell. It was great to see how much happier she was. At the start, Ella would run and hide from us and by her last session she was jumping into my arms and giving me kisses.” -Katie Dunbar CVT, CCRA
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Ella has asked us to tell you about a brand new rescue that her mom started, Wish Upon A Rescue which is currently working to raise$5000 to begin saving cats and dogs in need. (website coming soon!)
Leo, the gentle giant, was referred by Dr. Maxine Francks to IPC Homer Glen with the diagnosis of Wobbler syndrome, a neurologic disease common in large breed dogs. Dr. Ihrke recommended adding Veterinary Acupuncture to his treatment plan.
“In 2011, when Leo was only a year old, an MRI at University of Wisconsin Madison confirmed our fears; Leo had wobblers – a narrowing of the vertebral canal which leads to paralysis. The prognosis was bleak with a life expectancy of 1 maybe 2 years if he was lucky. Surgery was an option but because of how advanced the disease was the UWM vets urged against it, it would be used more as a teaching tool than a solution. It was at that point my husband Jerry & I committed to a holistic approach to insure Leo’s comfort for however long he had left.
We started with the water treadmill and moved on to swimming therapy and then on to TENS and laser treatments. We were continuing to see a lack of progress and an increasing decline in Leo’s mobility and then a chance encounter between Leo’s vet, Dr. Maxine Francks & Dr. Amber at a triathlon brought us to IPC. Dr. Amber suggested acupuncture as a means to slow the pace of the Wobblers. After doing some research we made an appointment; that was 2 years ago and Leo is still with us. Our 220 lb. love bug celebrated his 5th birthday last September and is still enjoying life as a spoiled couch potato. For all that Dr. Amber and the staff at IPC has done for Leo we pledge our devotion.”
Jerry, Dawn & Leo Gaynor
“At over 200 pounds, Leo is my biggest patient with a big heart to match. He is a gentle, loving soul and I have enjoyed working with him for the last several years.”
Dr. Amber Ihrke DVM, CCRT, CVA, CVSMT
Make a difference
Each month we ask our POTM to choose a NFP group for us to highlight. Leo has asked us to tell you about Great Lakes Mastiff Rescue. If you want to make a donation, it would make Leo’s day!
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.”
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!
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.
“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.”
Ever think a dog could pull a wheelie? Well, Hershey can & does! Hershey started rehab with us in April 2014. Although looking at him you would never know it, Hershey has the highest grade of hip dysplasia that a pet can have. He doesn’t let that slow him down though.
“When I first saw Hershey, he had one of the worst cases of hip dysplasia I have seen in 20 years. I cannot believe how stoic of a dog he is to not show any clinical signs before now. He is truly a great companion to his family and a great patient to work on.”
At IPC of Homer Glen, we understand how hard it can be to know exactly what to feed your pet and how much. That’s why before you start slim club we do a weight loss consult with our weight loss coach, Katie. Together, you will go over your pets’ weight and diet history. From there, Katie will come up with a personalized diet and weight loss program for your pet. Like the food your pet is on? No Problem! Katie works with you to keep your pet on their food of choice.
Weight loss isn’t just for Dogs! Our Coach will also work with your kitty to get them on the road to a skinnier and healthier life. ( Cat weight loss is solely diet change and exercise at home. No water for them!)