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!)
“Bruse was originally adopted from a family member who found he was too busy for a puppy. Unbeknownst to my husband and me, Olde English Bulldogs are a very high maintenance breed that are prone to many medical problems. Bruse showed some sensitivity periodically in his back and knees. After visiting 3 separate veterinarians, I was referred to Integrative Pet care of Homer Glen for rehabilitation.
Madison was adopted outside of Madison WI, hence her name, in September of 2011 when she was about 12 -15 weeks old. To the best of their knowledge, Madison is a border collie/husky mix. She immediately starting training, but her mom noticed that she was acting like an ‘old lady’ at about 9 months of age. She was suddenly having issues with stairs and ‘puppy push ups’ (meaning going from a sit to a down and back to a sit). Her trainer at the time also noticed it and recommended a trip to the vet where their ‘adventure into hip dysplasia’ began.
Riot’s owner Mike got Riot when she was 8 weeks old and she has been by his side ever since. She entered the show dog circuit, where she loved the attention, travel and competition. Riot had a very successful show career and eventually became one of the first AKC female mastiff grand champions! Riot is now happily retired from showing, but still enjoys getting attention from everyone she meets!
“Chiko is 11 years old. He did agility training before his injuries. He loves to do odd jobs, like bring me my shoes and slippers when I ask for them. He likes to get his bowl when it is time for dinner. Most people say he is a very happy dog, I agree. He is super sweet and loves having his ears and butt scratched. He eats just about everything. One of his favorite treats is carrots. He likes cucumbers and broccoli stems. He loves bread and can smell it from a distance.
Sadie is a miniature short, smoothed-haired Dachshund Rescue age 9 yrs 7 mos. She came into our lives early 2008, just prior to her turning 1 yr old. A co-worker (her previous owner) was in need at the time to find Sadie a new home. We were blessed when Sadie became part of our family.
Sadie, the Angel that she is, with a fantastic, energetic, friendly personality has a temperament that is active, playful, and devoted.
In October 2007, at the age of 7 mos., her previous owner brought Sadie to be seen by a DVM for concern of her wide stance in her rear limbs. Hip dysplasia was ruled out. Imaging had been performed. No significant abnormalities were seen.
“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.”
“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!