Sasha is a 15 year old chow mix who first pranced through our doors hoping to find relief for her arthritis which was starting to slow her down about 5 years ago. She was prescribed a treatment plan which consisted of twice weekly strengthening modalities such as resistance pool and exercise, as well as acupuncture, massage and laser therapy which were used for pain management. Sasha began to improve, so she was put on a once weekly program and underwater treadmill was added.
Her mom Beth gave us history on Sasha, as well as a glimpse into her daily life: “I went to the Anti-Cruelty Society on Grand Ave. in May 2003 because they had advertised some cute puppies on the news. I told myself I wouldn’t adopt unless a dog really made an impression on my heart. When I got there, all the puppies were gone so I took a lap around all the cages. None of them seemed right for me. As I was leaving I took a look in the waiting area and spotted a lady and her son playing with a little peach fuzzball. That lady had my dog! As fate would have it, they put her back. I swooped in and took her from her cage and sat with her. She was mine from the first moment and has been my precious best friend for 15 years.
Sasha starts pacing at 6:30am which is my alarm clock. I start my coffee and line up her many pills to shove down the chute (she doesn’t fall for the “pills wrapped in something yummy trick”). She’s loaded into the wagon for a ride to the park to see her neighborhood friends. (She can’t walk to the park and back anymore so we need a little help from the wagon everyday). Once we’re done socializing and I get ready for work, she’s off to daycare (Pooch hotel) where she gladly comes to hang out with her “school friends.” She hangs there while I work. I pick her up, get her daily report and head home in time for dinner. It’s a long day for her so she snoozes most of the evening, gets endless kisses and hugs from mom, a couple chews on her beloved bully sticks, with her ice packs on her back and the Assisi loop targeted at her poor joints. Last pills of the day and off to bed.
Sasha has had joint issues, elbows and rear legs since she was 6 yrs old. She had a TPLO surgery on back right leg, cruciate ligament on left rear leg, an elbow replacement on her front right elbow and two arthroscopic procedures in her left front elbow to remove bone fragments from osteoarthritis. Needless to say my girl has had a rough go on all four legs— mobility and limited pain relief options—brought our Vet to recommend IPC. And I’m so glad she did!
With Sasha’s all four limbs being affected with stiffness and pain and her limited options with pain medications, we had to explore other ways to manage her pain and assist her with mobility so she can live her best life. Sasha immediately fell in love with Emma and will do anything she asks Sasha to do and Dr. Zenoni has given Sasha such care. Sasha has done water treadmill, laser therapy, floor exercises, laser therapy, tens machine and acupuncture. Regardless of the therapy, Sasha is willing to try it all if Emma and her I ask her to. Liver treats don’t hurt either!
IPC has been a godsend and a necessary part of her life for the last 3 years.
Sasha has beaten the odds all her life. Within a month of adopting her at 10 weeks old, she contracted parvovirus and was given a 50/50 chance of survival. It was a rough beginning but she made it through and has withstood 10 surgeries for her many joint and other ailments throughout her life. Through it all, she has faced every hurdle with bravery, sweetness and some of that Chow stubbornness. I’ve learned so much about life and myself through her eyes and in a blink 15 years has passed by. I thank God everyday that she’s my girl—I just couldn’t have pictured my life without her.”
Sasha is a special lady who I look forward to seeing every week. She has been through so much and I’m proud to be part of her team! -Emma, Sasha’s therapist
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Since she is a sassy senior herself, Sasha has asked us to tell you about Young at Heart.
Young at Heart’s mission is to rescue and rehome senior dogs and cats, to educate the public on the benefits of adopting older pets and their care, and to reduce the euthanasia rate for adoptable senior pets.
Dallas is a sweet, seven year old pit mix who started coming to IPC over a year ago. She had been diagnosed with chronic Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) tears in both knees and her mom Harmony was looking for an alternative to surgery. She met with Dr. Zenoni and Lindsey for an evaluation and since she was stable at the time, a treatment plan was prescribed. Unfortunately Dallas re-injured her left leg and surgery was ultimately recommended.
Dallas had a Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) procedure on her left knee and came back to IPC shortly after to restart therapy. Dallas came twice weekly for therapies that included laser, massage, exercise, and underwater treadmill. Dallas did great with her therapies and genuinely loved coming!
“We have been coming to IPC for a year now, and not only has it helped Dallas through therapy, but been such a big help with me as a dog mom- I have learned so much. Dallas has done amazing with her progress, and had fun with it.” -Harmony
Since Dallas recovered so well after her left TPLO surgery, it was decided that she should have her right knee done as well in January. So again, Dallas came back to us immediately after surgery and started the process over again. Dallas looks fantastic, but still comes regularly as part of our maintenance club.
Harmony told about when she first met Dallas: “On Christmas Day 2012 my brothers and I were heading to a movie. As we were circling the parking lot we almost hit a dog passing through. WE stopped and got her to come over to us. She had clearly been on the streets for some time, she was malnourished, had some open wounds and clearly just run down. We were able to give her some water and a passerby gave us a McDonalds cheeseburger to give her. We took her home to my mom’s house and kept her in the garage for a few days while we slowly tried to integrate her pack of ten dogs. The following April after trying to find a home for her to no avail. My step dad called me and said “come get your dog,” as I had very clearly bonded with her from the beginning and the visit I had a couple months after we found her. So April of 2013, I flew to California and we made our way to Chicago, and started and tradition of cross country road trips that we love to take together.”
Today Dallas is back to being her normal self. “She loves to take 3-4 walks a day. We love to walk down the street and sit outside the bakery and soak up the morning sun. She very often accompanies me on running errands. Now that the weather has broken and her knee has healed we LOVE to go on different adventures at the forest preserves. Every summer we take a road trip to Colorado to visit family and stay at our family cabin in the mountains. Once she gets the green light she will be back at K9 University for daycare playing with all of her friends, or heading to the dog park.” -Harmony
“It’s so much fun to work with Dallas. She has an opinion about everything and prefers belly rubs to sitting still for massage, but she always works hard and comes back for more. She’s regrown almost all of her muscle back after two TPLO surgeries, and I couldn’t be more proud of her!” –Lindsey, Dallas’ therapist and biggest fan
Creating safe and humane communities by inspiring positive relationships between people and animals. Safe Humane is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit
Bialy’s Wellness Foundation helps families and rescue organizations care for pets with special needs, particularly those with mobility issues from paralysis, amputation, neurological or birth defects, and other diagnosed ailments.
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
Sarge came to Integrative Pet Care in November 2015 when his parents Matt and Tabitha noticed that he was slowing down and dragging his hind limbs on walks. Sarge started a rehabilitation program which included weekly therapeutic exercise, underwater treadmill, laser therapy, and acupuncture sessions.
Sarge did fantastic with his therapies and his parents noticed a difference, plus he LOVES coming! “Sarge’s weekly highlight is his visit to IPC, which he vocalizes with an indescribable howl as he enters the lobby every time” says Matt.
After completing his formal program, Sarge continued coming weekly for therapies which all parties enjoy immensely! “Sarge is definitely a patient I look forward to seeing each week. He has a fantastic attitude and will do anything you ask of him. Plus he has parents who have gone above and beyond for his care as he ages.” -Sarge’s therapist, Erin Kowalski
Matt told us about when they first got Sarge: “we had always wanted a Pug and had already picked out the name “Sargent Slaughter”, but the apartment we were living in didn’t allow pets. A move to a different apartment in the summer of 2006 allowed us to realize this dream. Coincidentally, we met a couple who owned a handsome Pug, and they referred us to their breeder. A short time later, in August 2006, we drove home from Marengo, IL, with Sarge in tow.
Sarge mainly sleeps all day long. If there is a human around, he will whine until he has their lap taken over for his slumber. If weather is permitting, he will be taken on a walk around the block by one of us in his cart. Otherwise he is found snoring in our bed or on the couch while we go about our lives.”
Integrative Pet Care was an obvious option for Sarge’s needs as the employees were warm and affectionate with Sarge from the get go, and they have provided a high level of support and care for his special needs. – Matt
Sarge was fitted for one of our loaner carts and it has vastly improved his mobility- “The cart has been a game changer for Sarge and us. We can now take him on longer walks either around the neighborhood or up on the 606. We put him in it around the house a few times a day, and it gives him the best option to zoom around like a younger Pug.” -Matt
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.
After completing a rehabilitation program following a tibial tuberosity advancement surgery (TTA) to repair her left torn Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) at another clinic, Bella’s mom Christy switched to IPC at the recommendation of a friend. Bella met with Dr. Megan Ridley and Laura who prescribed an 8 week treatment plan which consisted of underwater treadmill and therapeutic exercise.
Bella did a fantastic job with her therapies, which built muscle mass and strengthened her left rear leg! After her program was finished, she continued coming once weekly for underwater treadmill as part of our maintenance club. Unfortunately Bella had a setback and became lame on her right rear leg. Bella went to see Dr. Paula West at Veterinary Specialty Center where she was diagnosed with a right CCL tear.
Until Bella was able to have surgery, she came weekly for a pre-hab program which consisted of massage and laser sessions. Following her TPLO surgery, Bella returned to IPC for more underwater treadmill sessions. Christy was also taught more advanced exercises to do at home.
“IPC has helped Bella heal- strengthening her legs, knees and back, but they’ve also helped give me the confidence & knowledge to maintain her wellness outside of her visits.” -Christy, Bella’s mom
Christy also gave us a glimpse into Bella’s day which starts when she’s woken up too early by her annoying little sister, Laken. The rest of her day is filled with walks, naps, toys, treats and fun! Her ears are matted from her sister chewing on them but she loves the attention and will seek it out if being ignored.
“Bella has had the BEST attitude from the moment I met her – always willing to try something new, and always excited to be here! She’s worked really hard both at IPC and at home to regain her strength and rebuild muscle, especially when treats are involved. It’s been such a pleasure to watch her progress – I love our sessions together!” -Lindsey, Bella’s therapist
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Bella has asked us to tell you about As Good As Gold.
As Good as Gold – Golden Retriever Rescue of Illinois is dedicated to the rescue, care and adoption of Golden Retrievers and golden mixes who are in need.
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.
“We got Timmy from M.O.P.S. Pug Rescue and Adoption (a Chicago area pug rescue) in December 2014 when he was about to turn 10. I first saw him when they did a Facebook post asking for funds to help pay vet bills for two new pugs they had taken in. There was just something about him, I couldn’t stop thinking about him. Over the next week I kept going back and looking at his PetFinder profile and then finally submitted an application. I had another pug, Violet, and was a little worried about how she would feel about it, but M.O.P.S. felt that it would be a good fit (after asking a lot of questions about her and meeting her at the home visit) and they were right! It was love at first sniff.” – Christina, Timmy’s mom
Christina first came to Integrative Pet Care with her other Pug Violet after she tore a knee ligament, so she knew just the place to bring Timmy for his mobility issues. Timmy was dragging his rear legs and couldn’t walk very far. A rehabilitation program was prescribed by Dr. Megan Ridley and he grew stronger and was able to go on longer(ish) walks. Unfortunately they returned about a year ago when he started having trouble walking again, this time due to neurological issues.
Christina feels that weekly therapies have slowed down his declining mobility and helps manage his pain, but it also gives Timmy some fun every week! “I love, love, love working with Timmy! He’s really started enjoying his sessions and works hard for his treats” says his therapist Laura.
“IPC has also been extremely helpful in giving me suggestions how to manage day to day issues with his changing mobility.” -Christina
Timmy was recently fitted for a cart and we were all unsure how he’d adapt. Well, he blew us out of the water when he got in zoomed away! “Within the first two minutes of using a cart he was running gleefully around the office! He’s had no trouble adjusting too it. He loves to be out and about and to take long sniffy walks, and the cart means he gets to keep doing both. I’m really impressed with how much he can do in his carts, curbs and sidewalk bumps are no problem and he can turn on a dime. We call him the pugdozer in it because nothing gets in his way or slows him down!” -Christina
Christina gave us a little glimpse into Timmy’s daily life: “Weekdays are mostly about napping, walking around the neighborhood, and snuggling. But on weekends, Timmy loves to be out and about. He’s often out snackie shopping, doing errands, checking out other parts of the city, and traveling. You can see his adventures on IG/Twitter/FB at @TimmyOPug.”
M.O.P.S. Pug Rescue & Adoption is a Non-Profit 501c3 Company who has a group of volunteers dedicated to the welfare of pure bred pug dogs. M.O.P.S. works with Animal Shelters, Owner Relinquishments and Stray Pure Bred Pugs, fostering them until they are ready for their new homes
NIPRA is a 501c3 non-profit organization that exists to assist the community in placing any needy Pug dog in a permanent, loving home. All adoption fees and donations go solely for the rescue, care, and placement of mistreated, unwanted or homeless Pugs.
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.