“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.
“We adopted Peanut in February 2002, she was the last of a litter of Shar-Pei puppies that were found in a box placed in the back of a pickup truck. While in her Foster Mom’s home she was given the nick name “Smart Puppy” because she learned things very quickly. She has always been the dominant one in the canine pack. We were not the first family to try to adopt Peanut, but for whatever reason, the other families did not work out. The day Peanut came to visit us, the lady conducting the home visit from, “Rescue A SharPei” came inside first without Peanut, did her home check and a brief interview with us. She then proceeded to tell us Peanut was leery of new people and we would need to give her space and time to take in her new surroundings and get used to us. She had been in a couple of homes the past few weeks and it was stressful on her. With that in mind my husband and I sat on the floor of the hallway and waited until Linda went back outside and brought Peanut in. Peanut’s first reaction to our home was to walk right over to Chad and climb in his lap, she choose him. Needless to say that wasn’t the first time in her life that she shocked us.
– Amy Hanrahan
Peanut had a very active and successful Agility career until she ruptured her right cranial cruciate ligament at the early age of 5. The nail in the coffin was when she ruptured her left cranial cruciate ligament a year later. Luckily, she was able to transition to Rally Obedience and is the first Shar-Pei in America to earn a Rally Title.
Since Peanut’s first knee surgery, she had been swimming every other week to help keep her active. This seemed to do the trick until she hit about 12 1/2 years old. She was no longer her feisty self and was starting to become a grumpy old lady. She was even going after her siblings when they would try to play with her. When she had to start taking pain medication twice a day, her owners knew they had to do more.
During Peanut’s initial consultation, her mom told us that she is the hands-off type, especially with new people. After her consultation, Dr. Amber came up with a program which including weekly laser, underwater treadmill, and therapeutic exercise. Unfortunately, at the time Peanut was not a candidate for Acupuncture, as it would require too many hands on her. Despite not liking new people, Peanut caught on to her job quick. She loved being able to work in the underwater treadmill and get treats for doing all of her exercises. Before long we were all good friends!
”For a dog that has had two Cranial Cruciate repairs on both her knees, Peanut is moving beautifully. It has been great to see her grow to trust us…..as long as we keep the treats coming.”
Ever think a dog could pull a wheelie? Well, Hershey can & does! Hershey started rehab with us in April 2014. Although looking at him you would never know it, Hershey has the highest grade of hip dysplasia that a pet can have. He doesn’t let that slow him down though.
“When I first saw Hershey, he had one of the worst cases of hip dysplasia I have seen in 20 years. I cannot believe how stoic of a dog he is to not show any clinical signs before now. He is truly a great companion to his family and a great patient to work on.”