“Since we had lost our 2 Dogs within a year of each other, it took us a while to be ready for another. We never bought a puppy from a pet store before, but while shopping for something else, my husband wandered over to the pet area. There was Libby, scrawny as could be with a sad face. We went home, but I knew she was meant for us so I went back and got her the next day. She was very sickly, malnourished and had numerous health problems but that didn’t matter since she was now family. After some time, she flourished and her sad eyes disappeared. I don’t think she really knows she’s a dog because we treat her like our only child. She’s loyal, energetic and like any Labrador, she lives to fetch and swim!” -Linda, Libby’s mom
When Libby started crying and limping after playing and fetching toys in the lake, Linda spoke to family members who had experience with integrated veterinary medicine. Therapy was advised for Libby and after searching online, Linda found Integrative Pet Care which had great reviews from other pet owners.
“Libby’s exam showed she was painful mostly in her left hip, she has muscle atrophy and weakness in both her rear legs and she had decreased range of motion and flexibility in the left hip. We started her on a treatment plan with the goals of pain control, improving strength and flexibility in her hips and normalizing her walk so she would not limp. Over the course of her eight week program, Libby received therapeutic laser, underwater treadmill, massage, and therapeutic exercises.” -Dr. Amber Ihrke
Libby LOVED her therapies and would come in with endless energy and enthusiasm. “She is a great deal of fun to work with and her happiness is contagious. It’s impossible to work with her and not smile” says her therapist Tiffany! By the end of her eight week treatment plan, Libby had increased her hip extension range of motion, improved her gait and increased the amount of weight she placed on her left rear limb from 13% to 18%. Her owner reported Libby’s mobility had improved at home. It seemed Libby had a new sparkle in her eyes and skip her in step after she finished rehab at IPC.
“We love the staff at IPC! I am so grateful for their true concern and passion for making Libby better. Dr Amber says it’s as if Libby read the book on what it looks like to achieve therapy results and did it!!” -Linda
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Libby has asked us to tell you about The Caspian Fund.
Our Mission Statement: Providing families with a special needs pet that may need equipment, such as a cart, orthotic or prosthetic device in order to live an independent and full life. Our mission is only possible through generous donations from our supporters. Please consider making a donation so that we can continue to provide assistance to animals in need.
When Koda began to have difficulty walking, primary care veterinarian, Dr. Cynthia Cecott of Veterinary of Tinley Park, Koda’s recommended scheduling an appointment at Integrative Pet Care of Homer Glen. At his initial evaluation, they met with Dr. Amber Ihrke and PT Valerie who devised a custom rehabilitation plan to address his specific needs. They suspected he had Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) and a genetic test confirmed the diagnosis.
Koda started right away with treatments such as: manual therapy with dry needling to address his many myofascial trigger points, underwater treadmill and exercises for strengthening, and massage therapy to keep him comfortable. He was also measured for a cart, which would greatly improve his mobility and quality of life!
“It is amazing to see the difference in Koda’s attitude and personality since starting with us as he does not like to be handled much. But when it comes to his cart, he is a whole new dog! Koda stands calmly for me to place him in and out of his cart and will even sit next to in until I am ready to put him in it. He really understands that the cart is helping him and he is happier in it.” -Katie Neforos
“Koda showed us the importance of measuring our patients for a cart when they can still stand independently. By placing our patients with DM in carts early on, they can have significant improvement in their overall mobility and quality of life.” -Valerie
His owners gave us a brief history of Koda- He was brought to Cry for Help Rescue in 2016 after he was found tied up and left behind after his owners moved. It was not known how long he was tied up, but the abuse he endured caused him constant pain and made him a little aggressive towards others. Since we adopted him, Koda’s temperament has changed; he now has two other doggie brothers and my grandchildren love him!
“Integrative Pet Care has helped Koda tremendously! Without their help, he would not be able to enjoy the things he loves. They fit him for a harness/brace that he wears daily and they also helped fit him for a cart. Since the addition of the cart, Koda has be able to return to his daily walks around the neighborhood with his doggie brothers.” -Koda’s owner
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Koda has asked us to tell you about Cry For Help Rescue.
Penny’s mom Sharon brought her into Integrative Pet Care Homer Glen soon after being diagnosed with bilateral hip dysplasia by her primary care veterinarian. Since she was already displaying signs of lameness and discomfort at only 11 months old, her veterinarian recommended either surgery or rehabilitation. She met with Dr. Amber Ihrke who created an 8 week custom rehabilitation program which consisted of underwater treadmill, exercise, and Adequan injections.
“Penny was very nervous of everyone as the clinic and would lash out if anyone attempted to touch near her hips or tail. Now at the end of her program, she tries to break into the exercise room every time she comes to the clinic and allows butt rubs”, explains therapist Katie N!
“Within 4 weeks, Penny had improved her extension in both hips and was much more comfortable with palpation of her hip joints. By 8 weeks, her owner reported she was doing very well at home and rarely showed any discomfort or lameness.” – Dr. Amber Ihrke
“By the end of her therapy, Penny was an active puppy and was not limited by her hip dysplasia or pain. When Penny walked, she no longer had any lameness. Penny is a great example of how even puppies may require therapy and the sooner they begin the better prognosis and overall functional mobility they will have in the future.” -PT Valerie
“You guys have helped her so much that she can now play and go up the stairs with out pain! She loves Katie and all the love she get there!” -Sharon, Penny’s mom
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Penny has asked us to tell you about Half-Way Home Rescue.
Half-Way Home Animal Rescue is a not-for-profit 501(3)c recognized, foster-based (non-government funded) organization that is made up of all volunteers and along with the support and donations from individuals, veterinarians, and others – we strive for the rescue, humane care, and treatment of the animals in our community, state and throughout our country. Together we are saving hundreds of animal lives annually.
Harrison was hit by a car in early October 2017 and suffered a badly fractured pelvis and hip, which required surgical repair. His owners did not believe the vet bills were within their ability to pay, so they surrendered him to Chicago Animal Care and Control in the hopes that a rescue might step up to help him. Fetching Tails Foundation (501C3) was contacted that afternoon, and by that evening Harrison was in the care of the surgical team at Veterinary Specialty Center of Buffalo Grove. It would be nearly a week before the surgery could be performed due to head and abdominal traumas that had to be resolved before he could go under anesthesia. Once the surgery was completed, Harrison had a femoral head ostectomy (FHO) surgery, and the pelvic fractures on both sides of his body were left to heal on their own, which they did.
After two months, it was becoming clear that Harrison was not using his left hind leg. In order to give him the best chance at a normal recovery (and the best chance of being adopted), Harrison’s foster mom asked the surgeon at Vet Specialty Center whether Harrison was a candidate for rehabilitation. The surgeon provided a list of practitioners, but there was really only one place considered, Integrative Pet Care who Fetching Tails Foundation had previously worked with. Harrison started therapy in early December 2017 and the staff in Homer Glen did not disappoint!
Harrison met with Dr. Ihrke for an evaluation where he was prescribed a pain management regimen and rehabilitation program that included therapeutic laser, manual therapy, hydrotherapy and TENS therapy. Right away Harrison responded to his program and started putting weight on his left leg while walking. Over the next 12 weeks, he continued to improve and by the end of his treatment plan, he was walking, running and playing without issues.
I truly believe that without rehab Harrison would have had a hard time finding his forever home. His pain level would have remained elevated and he would not want anyone touching him. Rehabilitation helped manage Harrison’s pain, increase weight bearing on his left rear limb and returned him to an active lifestyle. -therapist Valerie Williams
Today, Harrison runs, climbs stairs, goes for walks to the dog park, and stands on his hind legs as any small dog would.He walks without a limp, and unless one knew what Harrison had been through, one would not know it from looking at him. Harrison was recently adopted and will continue his rehabilitation at the Chicago location!
“I would always look forward to days that he was coming because he was so much fun to work with. We all miss Harrison here but are so glad that he is healthy and has found his forever home!” -therapist Katie Nefros
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Harrison has asked us to tell you about the rescue that saved his life, Fetching Tails Foundation.
Fetching Tails Foundation is an 501c3 Illinois based non-breed specific rescue committed to saving dogs regardless of breed, age, and physical ability. Our foundation is committed to lowering euthanasia rates by rescuing adoptable dogs from high kill-shelters and other animal intake facilities and placing them in approved adopted homes. We are dedicated to helping our community through educational programs and combined efforts for spay & neuter clinics.
Tucker’s journey starts when he was found roaming the streets of Southern Illinois with his mom and siblings. Luckily he was taken in by Midwest Beagle Rescue, Education & Welfare (BREW). His future mom had been looking for a male companion for her other beagle, and she was smitten when she saw his picture online. When they met in person, it was love at first sight!
“Tucker first came to Integrative Pet Care Homer Glen for Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). He had previously had surgery to correct the problem, but when he had a subsequent episode he came to us for help. Tucker was in tremendous pain and barely able to walk. We started an aggressive treatment plan of pain medication and rehabilitation modalities including TENS, acupuncture and manual therapy.” -Dr. Amber Ihrke explains Tucker’s condition
Dr. Melissa Trupia performed his first acupuncture treatment and he did amazingly well for his first session! When he returned for his second acupuncture session 4 days later, Tucker was willing and able to stand and ambulate on his own. “We were all so pleased with his progress and agreed that he was ready for additional treatment modalities including manual therapy and hydrotherapy.” -Dr. Trupia
Therapist Valerie tells us about Tucker’s therapy experience- “His pain was so intense that he would not weight bear on his rear limbs to stand or walk and Tucker allowed minimal hands-on work. He allowed cupping and manual therapy over his spinal muscles during his second session. By the 3rd and 4th treatment session, Tucker was now walking back to the therapy gym and was a completely different dog!”
“I cannot put into words how much everyone at IPC has helped my pets and supported us.. When I brought Tucker in this year, he was barely walking, and I had little hope he would walk again. He has many other health issues I have been trying to get ahead of this year, and this re-injury was a gigantic step backward for us. I was unclear of what the future may hold, but one thing I did know is the only team I trusted to help him were Dr. Amber, Valerie, Katie, Tiffany, Dr. Melissa and Jill! IPC of Homer Glen gave my best friend a longer pain-free life filled with happiness, mobility and lots of love. Thanks to the entire team, Tucker will continue to be spoiled and loved immensely.” -Becky, Tucker’s mom
“Tucker has made amazing strides at IPC and never fails to surprise us. It has been a joy to watch him return to the things he loves most!” -Therapist Tiffany
Midwest Beagle Rescue, Education and Welfare, Inc is a 501(c)3 non profit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to rescuing beagles from high-kill shelters. We adopt beagles to families within Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, western Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and have also placed beagles into loving homes in Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri
Teddy is a 7 year old Old English Sheepdog who has been incredibly active his entire life. “I was in contact with his breeder from the day he was born. I got to meet him at 5 weeks old and brought him home at 9 weeks. I have shown him in conformation and he earned his AKC Championship. We also do lots of performance sports. He has titles in obedience, rally, agility, lure coursing, barn hunt, trick dog and canine good citizen. He is now a therapy dog and started visits in March.” -Cindy, Teddy’s mom
Integrative Pet Care Homer Glen was highly recommended by Teddy’s primary care veterinarian at Mokena Animal Clinic after he began showing signs of cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) disease.
Teddy met with Dr. Amber Ihrke who created an 8 week rehabilitation program that included hydrotherapy, therapeutic exercise, and laser therapy. Cindy’s goal was to get him back into what made him happy, agility. “Within 8-weeks, Teddy was back to agility and not exhibiting any signs of lameness. He is a great reminder that even with arthritis, patients can continue with their sporting activities and remain comfortable!”- Dr. Ihrke
Teddy graduated from a formal therapy program, but his mom saw the progress he made and decided to keep going. He regularly comes to IPC for maintenance which keeps him competing at the highest level in agility.
PT Valerie Williams commented on how important home care is to a dog’s recovery. “Cindy was also compliant with Teddy’s home exercise program, especially with waiting to continue with Teddy’s agility until he fully recovered. Teddy is a great example of when patients start rehab right after an injury they can return to their active lifestyles and even agility without any limitations.”
“All he and his mom wanted to do was to get him back in the agility ring and we did just that!” -IPC therapist, Katie Neforos
Besides excelling in competitions, Teddy is an all around great dog who every therapist enjoys working with. “Teddy is a pleasure to work with as he was very cooperative for all of his therapies. I am so glad that all of his hard work with us led him to return to agility and other activities that he loves.” – therapist Tiffany Helphingstine
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Teddy has asked us to tell you about One Tail At A Time.
One Tail at a Time (“OTAT”) is a no-kill, 501(c)3 all-breed dog rescue committed to lowering euthanasia rates in the greater Chicagoland area through the rescue and adoption of dogs in need; comprehensive support of adopters; and community outreach through humane education programs and assistance for disadvantaged and low-income families.
Levi was referred to Integrative Pet Care Homer Glen following a tibial-plateau-leveling osteotomy, (TPLO) to repair his torn left cranial cruciate ligament (CCL). His dad Chuck wanted him to have the best recovery possible, so he could quickly return to all his favorite activities.
When Levi had his evaluation with Dr. Amber Ihrke, it was noted that he was partially weight bearing on his left leg with muscle atrophy and decreased stifle range of motion. “We started him on a rehabilitation program that included therapeutic laser, underwater treadmill, and therapeutic exercises. Levi did fantastic with his plan! By the time of his 8-week checkup, he was fully weight-bearing on the left rear limb and was back to his normal active self!”- Dr. Ihrke.
“Levi started his program as someone who did NOT want to be here. He was not a fan of having to sit still and be touched. After just a few sessions he realized he was being pampered and his whole outlook on rehab changed! He would come running into the building, excited to see everyone and find out what he has doing that day. This really went a long way to aid in his recovery.” -Katie Neforos
Valerie also gave some details on Levi’s rehab journey: “He did well in the underwater treadmill and with his laser therapy, but would not allow us to get very close to touch him. However, throughout his therapy, Levi slowly warmed up to us and by the end of his treatment plan he would run up to us, give us kisses and want us to pet him. My favorite memory of Levi was when he would attack any ball that was in the room during his exercise sessions. He even tried attacking the large exercise peanut!”
“With the help of your wonderful and knowledge staff, Levi is back to his old self, more playful and ready for an adventure!”
Chuck gave us a little history on Levi: “He came to me when he was just under two years old after I offered to foster him for a friend. After a few months without a new owner, I gladly took him in permanently. It’s been a fun five years! We added to our family when my girlfriend moved in with her little Maltese, GiGi. She’s Levi’s best friend! Levi loves his walks, playtime, visits to the pet stores and traveling (he’s been to a dozen states).”
I enjoyed not only watching Levi progress through his therapy but also watching him come out of his shell and trust us through his rehab plan. -Valerie
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Levi has asked us to tell you about NAWS where his mom is a regular volunteer.
Our mission is to end pet homelessness, suffering, and unnecessary pet euthanasia. We do this by changing the face of animal welfare and elevating the status of pets in our lives and society.
Shelby had surgery last May to repair her torn right cranial cruciate ligament (CCL). Unfortunately, she had a hard recovery and was reluctant to use her leg. Her mom Karen followed her veterinarian’s advice and made an appointment with Integrative Pet Care.
“At her initial exam, she was minimally weight bearing on her leg and exhibited a profound lameness. On our stance analyzer, her weight bearing on the right rear leg was only 1% (normal is 20%)” says Dr. Amber Ihrke. An intensive rehabilitation program that consisted of underwater treadmill, therapeutic exercise, laser therapy, and manual therapy was prescribed.
“We worked hard to make her more comfortable by decreasing her pain and increasing her range of motion, so she would start walking on her surgical leg. She’s such a success story as to how much rehab can help post-surgical patients, especially when they do not want to walk on their legs after surgery.” -Val
“Shelby is such a wonderful patient! She is always so happy to see everyone and does anything we ask of her. I love working with her.” -Katie, Shelby’s therapist
Today, Shelby is back to being her happy self and can now walk with her mom and other Golden Retriever friends in the neighborhood!
“Shelby has made a remarkable recovery. Thank you to all the staff and doctors at IPC.”-Karen, Shelby’s mom
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Shelby has asked us to tell you about The Caspian Foundation.
Mission Statement: providing families with a special needs pet that may need equipment, such as a cart, orthotic or prosthetic device in order to live an independent and full life. Our mission is only possible through generous donations from our supporters. Please consider making a donation so that we can continue to provide assistance to animals in need.
Connor is a five year old German Shepherd who was diagnosed with bilateral hip dysplasia at nine months old. At the suggestion of a surgeon, his mom Jennifer decided to try rehabilitation first due to his young age and high energy level.
Connor met with Dr. Amber Ihrke and Valerie who prescribed a rehabilitation program that included strengthening and pain management modalities. Connor is not a big fan of strangers, so it took a little bit for him to trust his new rehabilitation team. “Although he was not a huge fan of manual therapy in the beginning, Connor learned to tolerate it, which helped increase his hip and shoulder range of motion” says Valerie.
“When I started working with Connor we would take 5-10 minutes for him to get comfortable with me before we could start his sessions. Now, he and I are the best of friends! I look forward to his sessions as does he. He rarely has a bad day, but can recover quickly if he does. Connor is a big baby and I love working with him. He trusts that I only want to help him, and you can tell he enjoys his time in the clinic.” – Katie, Connor’s therapist
“Connor just celebrated his fifth birthday on December 17th. At this point he does not and may never need surgery on his hips. This alone is amazing. At nine months it was almost guaranteed that he would need surgery with in the first few years of life. He has had a few injuries over the years and each time Dr. Ihrke and Katie have never hesitated once to make sure he got the exact care he needed. He runs and plays with his pit pull sister with no problems or pain. He acts like he is still a silly puppy.”- Jennifer, Connor’s mom.
“Connor has become one of our regulars and we look forward to keeping him happy and moving well as the years continue.” – Dr. Amber Ihrke
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Connor has asked us to tell you about Half-Way Home Animal Rescue.
Our Mission is to ensure that every animal is treated with the respect that they deserve; to educate our communities on the importance of spaying and neutering their pets; in order to solve the pet overpopulation problem; the humane treatment and care of all animals, and to help the many animals that are being put to death in our communities every day, due to no fault of their own.
“Charlie has been a part of our family since he was 10 weeks old, joining Buffy, a 5-year-old blind Cocker Spaniel and Sadie, an 8-year-old Cocker Spaniel. Charlie’s very energetic, social with everyone and very loving. He loves to spend time out in his yard running around the pool at full speed trying to get his other brothers and sisters to play with him. He would rather sit out in the grass or on the deck on a nice warm summers day than to take a nice cool dip in the pool with the others.
In June of this year Charlie became very wobbly as he walked, and suddenly had no control over his legs at all; it was like he became paralyzed and was having severe muscle spasms in his chest area. I immediately called his doctors at Colonial Manor and brought him in. After taking x-rays and doing a full exam Charlie was diagnosed with a form of myelopathy and disc problems and I was told that he may never walk again. From that moment on, Charlie became immobile and had to be carried everywhere. I couldn’t give up on my sweet baby boy. After a few weeks he began to move his legs again and a few more days after that he started to get up, but that quickly stopped, and he was down and immobile again. Hand water and feeding him and diaper changes throughout the day and night had to happen again and it was worse than the first time.” -Brian, Charlie’s dad.
Charlie was referred to Integrative Pet Care Homer Glen where he met with Dr. Amber Ihke and therapist Valerie Williams who created a treatment program which included NMES (electrical stimulaton), underwater treadmill, therapeutic exercise & acupuncture.
“Charlie is a stubborn guy who improved in spite of himself. He came to us non-ambulatory and wasn’t motivated to get up and move. We began with instructing the owner how to use an NMES unit on all four of the patient’s limbs to stimulate muscular contraction. Although Charlie would not move during his therapy sessions, his owner reported slow improvements at home with increased mobility. Eventually, Charlie was able to stand with support and he began exercising in the underwater treadmill. Finally, it seemed like Charlie turned a corner and returned to walking outside at home without assist and even began negotiating stairs to enter and exit his home!” -Valerie
“Charlie is our little miracle; he could literally do nothing on his own! After weeks of intensive therapy and the diligent care giving of his owner, Charlie is now walking and running independently. A true testament to the power of rehabilitation.” -Dr. Amber Ihrke
“With Integrative Pet Care of Homer Glen’s therapy plan along with daily home exercises & NMES while using his cart, Charlie started to show signs of movement. As of today, he got his appetite back and enjoys his food on his own and he is out walking around the yard again and even does some running around. He is back to going for short rides in the car and he is even going for short walks again to the local park. I never gave up on my little guy and neither did Dr. Ihrke and Valerie who made it their personal mission to get Charlie walking again and give him his quality of life back. THANK YOU Integrative Pet Care!” -Brian
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Charlie has asked us to tell you about Tender Loving Care Animal Shelter.
T.L.C. has served the community as a private, non-profit, humane society, dedicated to the prevention of abuse, neglect, and cruelty to animals. The shelter provides refuge for an average of three to four thousand animals yearly.
Here’s small snippets of Charlie’s road to recovery: