“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!
Baxter is a blue tick beagle hound who was born on August 31, 2004. We have had him since he was 9 weeks old. He is my first dog and our baby. We cannot remember what life was like before him as he has been with us for half of the 21 years that we have been married.
When Baxter was 6 he developed IVDD in his neck. It was a very trying time for us as it happened suddenly and he was on multiple powerful medications for over 3 weeks. We were hoping that crate rest would have helped him but the pain became unbearable for him. In addition I (Sharon) was out of work for over 17 months and we worried that the expensive surgery to fix his disc would not be affordable for us and we would have to put him down. God was good to us and provided a specialist, Dr. Zachary Niman who operated on Baxter and saved his life. With a lot of love and kisses he survived and taught us the power of unshakable faith which he has in Jerome and I.
I never saw a dog fight through pain like he did and needless to say it is one of the reasons that I think he brings so much joy to those who know him.
In November of 2015 while playing hide and go seek with me Baxter injured his CCL. He did it in an instant and due to the fact that he is 11 we were worried about going through another tough surgery. A few years after the IVDD he had a minor relapse which he worked through and also had been diagnosed with early stage mitral valve disease of which he shows no symptoms. So after hearing this bad news from the vet who had just operated on him yet again to remove a large lipoma, we decided to look into rehabilitation. That is when we were blessed to find Integrative Pet Care of Homer Glen.
Words cannot express how we feel about the staff and how they have wrapped their arms around us and Baxter. From day one they treated us as family.
Baxter has gone through 2 cycles of treatment. When he first went to them he had trouble walking and his body had become severely misaligned since he was not putting pressure on his left back leg where the tear was. Through weekly sessions of acupuncture, manual manipulation, treadmill and hydrotherapy we watched Baxter get better in front of our eyes. Dr. Amber suggested natural supplements to strengthen his legs and body while he was undergoing treatment. Baxter realized he was getting better and soon started to look forward to his weekly visits. It is an investment in time that you have to be willing to make, but the results are well worth it.
During his second cycle we ordered a custom made leg brace from OrthoPets for him. The team at Integrative Pet Care helped us with the measurements and fitting. Then once he got it they helped him learn how to use it. The treatments were so good until Baxter was walking very well by the time we got the brace; his limb was still a bit unstable. After weeks of the brace with the treatment plan, we need to now keep him on a leash because he walks better now than when he was young. He is enjoying his walks with Jerome and seeing his friends in our neighborhood and they asked about him when he was not able to get around. Before you take your baby for surgery for any limb issue I strongly suggest that you reach out to the team at Integrative Pet Care for a consultation. Our babies are worth it and it is by far
the best decision that we ever made.
Baxter will be 12 this year and we feel so blessed that he is still with us and doing so well. His presence is proof that God grants us the gifts of faith, strength, and courage even in our pets. Dogs in particular depend on their owners to love and protect them when they are sick. No matter how Baxter is feeling he looks to Jerome and I to be there for him and he has enough faith to count on us finding help for him. How blessed we have been to have him in our lives and I am sure that when he leaves us for a little while I will hear that beautiful bay someday and know that where we will be going will be heaven since that is where he will be.
Baxter is a Beagle that came to us with cranial cruciate disease of his left knee and was not a surgical candidate. He was fitted for a custom stifle orthotic and worked hard in his rehabilitation to get his mobility back. Baxter has a one-of-a-kind personality and is always keeping us entertained with his antics! He is great fun to work with and is a joy for Jerome and Sharon.
– Dr. Amber Ihrke, DVM, CCRT, CVA, CVSMT
Baxter is such a happy pup that came to us with a torn cruciate. He was having difficulty getting around and could not be his happy-go-lucky self.
We fitted Baxter with a stifle orthosis to help stabilize his knee and allow him to put more weight on his leg. Baxter participated in underwater treadmill and therapeutic exercises to help him get used to wearing his brace. It took him a little while, but now Baxter runs around all over with his stifle brace. I love watching Baxter come to therapy, always with a smile on his face. He now can enjoy life like he wants to and he does so in style with his camouflage brace. Through the use of the orthotic device, Baxter is able to live a long and happy life.
– Valerie Williams, PT, DPT, ATRIC, CCRP
We work to help pets that need carts, orthotics, and/or prosthetic devices in order to live an independent and full life.
We also accept donations in the form of gently used carts, orthotic devices, TENS/NMES units, or other therapy
“We rescued Laney when she was 5 months old, we got her because we were looking for a companion for our 8 month old Rottweiler Chance, wanted them to grow old together. Unfortunately, life happened and our beloved Chance was diagnosed with bone cancer at only 6 years old. I only share this story because that was Laney’s best friend. Laney went into a depression after that in fact we were afraid we might lose her to dying from a broken heart. I started taking her places with me- car rides to work with me, puppy parks, and endless walks and of course her favorite thing is our in-ground pool. Just add a Frisbee and her day is complete. Laney had a close call with cancer in 2013, we found a tiny lump on her hind quarter. I immediately took her to her vet and had it aspirated. It came back stage 2 mast cell. Surgery was scheduled within 2 days and, happy to say, surgery was a success- they got it all and clean margins. That same year she started limping.
Since her vet could not diagnose it again, I took her to the U of I, where she was diagnosed with an overstretched tendon. Surgery would not have helped so I got her into the Chicago Medical Therapy in Worth. She was in therapy for almost 2 years and in those 2 years I found a few more lumps on her I took her immediately to the U of I because of her past issue with cancer. They suggested surgery ASAP, thankfully they came back benign. So Laney has had some health issues, however, you would not know it.
She is the sweetest dog I have ever known. She has manners…LANEY was involved in puppy training plus agility for 3 years with her BFF Chance, Laney retrieves ANYTHING! SHE ONCE BROUGHT ME A BOTTLE CAP! She has been through a lot of things in her life, good and bad but she has always made me smile and laugh.
Her injury occurred the weekend of labor day weekend last year; once again with U of I and diagnosed her with a torn tendon and told me they felt she also had Cushing’s disease which they WOULD NOT DO SURGERY if that was the case. Unfortunately, she does have Cushing’s that explains a lot of her medical problems; they told me at the U of I to get her into therapy. However, when I called the place she went to some years ago for the overstretched tendon the vet left me a message stating he didn’t feel he could help her.
I was blessed to find you guys. Day one we had a plan in place. When her orthotics came in we had the first fitting and off she went.
She was just so happy to be able to walk like a normal dog again. When her Magic boots are put on her she gets so excited she barks and smiles ear to ear.
She works hard at her therapy and even though Laney will be 10 this June 2nd you wouldn’t know it when she has her Magic Legs on. She is a different dog today than when we first met with Dr Amber 3 months ago.
The decision was easy for me, let her spend her senior years just lying around and die, or be aggressive and get her back to living again! Laney has been with me through her puppy years, her teenage years, and now I am here for her in her senior years, I wouldn’t have it any other way, I am looking forward to many more years with this special girl of mine. Thank you for picking Laney for Patient of the Month! She well deserves it!”
“Laney had injuries to both her Achilles Tendons that made mobility difficult, however with the help of her orthotics and rehabilitation therapy, she is now enjoying daily walks with her owner! Laney is a great success story of the power of orthotics to enhance life quality.”
-Dr. Amber Ihrke DVM, CCRT, CVA, CVSMT
“Laney is a walking advertisement as to how orthotic devices can change not only the mobility but overall life of a dog. Laney could not walk on her toes like a “normal” dog because of injuries to the tendons in her legs. I could see it in her eyes she had the will to move but didn’t have the way. We discussed at her initial evaluation the use of orthotic devices on her rear limbs to give her the support and stability in order for her to walk “normally” again. Laney’s owner was 100% committed to helping Laney regain her mobility, so we decided to have OrthoPets in Broomfield, Colorado, custom make orthotic devices for her.
While we awaited Laney’s devices, she continued with therapy using the underwater treadmill to swim. We needed her to increase her endurance and lose weight so when she received her devices she could walk in them for more than five minutes without fatiguing.
I shall never forget the day Laney wore her devices for the first time. I put them on her, with assistance she stood up and then walked for the first time like a “normal” dog. It reminded me of how I felt when my sons took their first steps as toddlers. I was scared they were going to fall but overjoyed they finally walked on their own. This was exactly how I felt about Laney. It was an amazing feeling being able to help give her the ability to walk again without requiring any help.
Now, Laney is walking two to three times a day for twenty minutes each compared to only walking for five minutes before having her “magic boots” as her owner calls them. Laney has learned how to sit and stand with her devices without any assistance. She walks over thresholds, rocks, grass or any other obstacle in her way without losing her balance. Laney continues to have therapy with her devices to strengthen her legs and increase her endurance but she is well on her way to returning to her previous active lifestyle.
Laney now has the will AND the way with her orthotic devices! (Thank you OrthoPets!)”
-Valerie Williams, PT, DPT, ATRIC, CCRP
Make a Difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose a group they’d like us to tell you about. This month Laney has chosen Kodi’s Club Rescue. Learn more about them here and consider making a donation!
Heinz was raised on a farm, he had High hopes of moving to the big city. His parent saw his constant desire to leave the farm and sent him to live with Midwest dachshund Rescue. Heinz met his future family at the Cross-Town-Bark-Around Doxie party in 2014. Two weeks later, he met his roommate Marley and they both moved to their furever home in Burbank, IL. Last Christmas, Heinz and Marley let a third member join their family, his name is Brutus.
After New Year’s Eve and too much partying…..Heinz was enjoying a run in the yard and all of a sudden his back gave out and he lost the use of his back legs. He had back surgery that night at Premier Veterinary Group. A week later, Heinz’ German stubborn prevailed and he
was determined to get up and play with the others. Integrative Pet Care of Homer Glen came highly recommended to further his recovery with physical therapy.
Heinz’ happy go lucky sweet nature immediately charmed Dr. Amber, Valerie, Katie and Tiffany. His favorite part of therapy was the “Porcupine Treatment.”
Thanks to IPCHG therapy, Heinz is well on his way to full recovery and back to securing his home from the dreaded squirrels and destroying the squeakies.
-Pat Macke/Bill Koziolczyk
“Heinz came to us after surgery to repair a herniated disc due to Intervertebral Disc Disease. Throughout his therapy, Heinz has been a great worker and a lovely patient. He has now recovered his ability to walk and is looking forward to his summer playing with his family.”
– Dr. Amber Ihrke DVM, CCRT, CVA, CVMST
“Heinz is a gentle and loving little dog who is an absolute joy to work with. He has made some incredible strides during his rehabilitation at IPCHG. He has lost some weight and has shown a lot of improvement in the areas of mobility and core strength. He progressed quickly in the underwater treadmill and is doing much more advanced exercises during his therapeutic exercise sessions then he was able to do when he first started out with us. He’s a fantastic choice for patient of the month.”
– Tiffany Helphingstine, CCRA
Make a Difference
Each month we ask our patient of the month to choose a not for profit group to promote during their “reign.” This month Heinz has chosen Midwest Dachshund Rescue. If you can help them out, it would make Heinz’s day!
Midwest Dachshund Rescue is a 501(c)3 all-volunteer organization that was founded in 2003. We primarily serve Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana, and other Midwest states as needed.
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.