Shinto is a 12-year-old Shiba Inu who was previously very active. He earned titles in both AKC agility and coursing. Shinto was doing quite well until last February, when he suddenly fell to the ground and yelped out in pain. He was quickly taken to the emergency vet after he was unable to get up and walk on his own.
After having x-rays and blood work, Shinto was referred for an MRI where he was diagnosed with a Fibrocartilaginous Embolism (FCE), which is a blockage in the blood vessels of the spinal cord. He presented with ataxia of the hind limbs and knuckling of the rear paws. Rehabilitation was recommended and Shinto started right away. A program was prescribed that included underwater treadmill, acupuncture & chiropractic, therapeutic exercise/massage, and laser therapy. Shinto’s owner felt that choosing to apply all the different types of therapies available has allowed Shinto to continue with his active lifestyle.
“Shinto has done wonderful with the prescribed program and he now plays, uses the stairs and does not knuckle with his rear paws as he did before.” –Dr. Arlene Rodriguez, DVM, CCRT
Because of all his hard work, Shinto was able to return to competing in nosework! He has earned his NW1 & NW2 titles. He is currently working on his NW3 thanks to his ongoing therapy.
“He is a STAR in the underwater treadmill and has improved so much with his rehabilitation that he has been able to return to his beloved nosework classes.” -Susan Trchka, PT, CCRT
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Shinto has asked us to tell you about Midwest Shiba Inu Rescue.
Midwest Shiba Inu Rescue is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit rescue that seeks out, fosters, and places homeless Shiba Inu dogs into carefully screened, lifelong, and nurturing homes. MSIR serves Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri areas.
Nikita is a 13 year old pug who was referred to Integrative Pet Care Homer Glen when her primary care veterinarian at Colonial Manor Animal Hospital diagnosed her with osteoarthritis (OA) at the lumbosacral area, & possibly in the elbows. She couldn’t go for long walks, had problems with stairs and losing balance with her back legs. “As Nikita got older, she began to have back pain and abnormal movement in her hind legs. We started Nikita on Adequan and referred her to IPC for additional treatment. Their services have helped increase her comfort and quality of life as she ages. They not only focus on her back issues but all health concerns.” says Dr. Debbie Anello.
“Nikita has been my patient for the last 18 months and always makes me smile! We initially had her in a plan that included hydrotherapy, therapeutic exercises and acupuncture. She responded very well and now has a home exercise program and comes to see me for acupuncture every 3-4 weeks. Nikita is a great example of how a little TLC for a senior patient can allow for improved mobility and improved quality of life.” – Dr. Amber Ihrke
“Nikita was such a sweet old lady when she came to us but she was having trouble keeping up with the new puppy in her home. By the end of therapy, Nikita was walking circles on the trampoline and maneuvering obstacle courses set up by Katie. She can now play (and get away) from the new puppy. Nikita is a type of patient who shows that age doesn’t matter. If you start getting an older dog moving, they regain their lively and spunky personality they had once before”, explains her therapist Valerie Williams.
Katie Dunbar, Nikita’s therapist, knew she had made progress after hearing that she could not only play with her new puppy, but get away from her as well!
“What a difference this made! The IPC ladies were all so nice and patient with Nikita and did a great job. Now Nikita can go for short walks. She can use the stairs a bit better and chase the bunnies slowly. Most importantly she can now defend herself against her little sister! I appreciate everything IPC has done for my old girl.” -Elizabeth, Nikita’s mom
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Nikita has asked us to tell you about Tender Loving Care Animal Shelter.
T.L.C. has served the community as a private, non-profit, humane society, dedicated to the prevention of abuse, neglect, and cruelty to animals. The shelter provides refuge for an average of three to four thousand animals yearly.
We first met Digger a little over 2 years ago when her parents noticed she started slowing down. After meeting with Dr. Megan Ridley, a formal rehabilitation program was created that included strengthening modalities such as underwater treadmill and exercise, as well as laser, acupuncture and massage therapy which were prescribed for pain management. Digger loved her therapies right away and her mobility improved.
“IPC has helped Digger’s daily functioning – mobility, flexibility, stability. The laser and acupuncture really help ease stiffness and pain. The training you have provided and continue to provide so that we can work with her at home has been unbelievably helpful. Digger would not be as mobile if not for her weekly visits.” -Bonnie, Digger’s mom
Digger has a lot of loves in life like watching trains and snoozing under the covers, but nothing beats swimming in the lake- toss a tennis ball and she’s off! She still enjoys taking walks, but it involves more smelling than walking these days.
“As a 15 year old pit bull mix, Digger has developed more issues over the years, but that hasn’t changed her attitude. She comes in ready to work and is all smiles (and barks) while doing it!” –Dr. Ridley
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Digger has asked us to tell you about C.A.R.E.
Community Animal Rescue Effort (C.A.R.E) is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization with a mission to serve the communities of Chicago’s North Shore by fostering and supporting healthy, positive relationships between people and companion animals. C.A.R.E. rehomes companion pets into safe, healthy, lifelong homes; serves as an educational and counseling resource; and works to reduce pet overpopulation.
Taking on an animal with special needs is definitely a challenge, but it’s worth it to help improve the life of an animal! These pets usually need more attention at home, may require ongoing veterinary care and sometimes even need the help of assistive devices, such as carts, orthoses/prostheses or special harnesses. Pet owners often adjust their own lives to accommodate the needs of their companion. Erin Kowalski, one of IPC’s Animal Rehabilitation Therapists and founder of Bialy’s Wellness Foundation, has fostered many special-needs animals and has a special-needs dog of her own named Josh.
Josh was paralyzed as a puppy and has spent most of his life in a cart. By now, it’s just as much a part of him as any other part of his body and he moves in it with speed and ease! To accommodate Josh and his cart, Erin has made some changes to her home. Erin keeps carpeted tiles laid out over her hardwood floors in the main areas to provide traction and has Josh’s cart outfitted with bumpers so if he takes a tight turn, both the wall and the dog are protected. When not in his cart, Josh has his own room which is organized specifically for him.
“Organization is essential,” Erin explains. “His room is heavily padded so when he moves, the impact on his hind legs isn’t that intense. The drawers contain basic first aid, potty pads, diapers, extra blankets, and, most importantly, toys.”
While Erin doesn’t have to get up on cold winter mornings to take Josh out to potty, she is mindful of when she needs to express his bladder.
“Routine is very important when you have a specially-abled animal. Since Josh has trouble going on his own, I need to express him on a regular basis. If I don’t, he is at a higher risk for Urinary Tract Infection’s.” She keeps Josh on a diet made up primarily of raw food and supplements to help maintain a firm stool. “It’s just an easier clean-up!”
The extra work and accommodations are well worth it.
“Everything I do for Josh, is repaid tenfold in the love and companionship he provides me.”
In her first few months of life, Sookey was sick with puppy strangles, or juvenile cellulitis, and was nursed back to health by her loving foster mom. While in remission for puppy strangles, Sookey was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at 7 months of age. She recently completed an 8 week therapy program with Integrative Pet Care Hanover Park that primarily included underwater treadmill, exercise therapy, and laser therapy. She works hard for her peanut butter Kong! While we have seen improvement in her hips, Sookey will be continuing with another 8 week program.
“Sookey has been a wonderful patient and it has been a pleasure working with her and watching her improve. Sookey’s progress has shown that rehabilitation is an option and can be beneficial if surgery is not feasible. I am looking forward to working with her in the future.” -Dr. Jennifer Blake, DVM, CVA, CCRT
At home, Sookey loves to run and play with the squeakiest toys she can find and insists on greeting all the dogs in the neighborhood. She is currently in the 2nd level of training classes and recently became a proud big sister to baby Adeline! She is already a great protector and always keeps an eye on her new best friend.
“I started working with Sookey in February to help build up her hind limb muscles due to hip dysplasia. Sookey does an excellent job walking in the underwater treadmill. She learned quickly that a peanut butter kong helps make the time go by faster when she is getting her laser therapy! Sookey’s Mom and Dad are doing a great job with her at home!” -Anna, CVT, CCRA
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Sookey has asked us to tell you about Almost Home Foundation.
“We are an all volunteer, registered, not-for-profit 501c3 charitable organization dedicated to rescuing stray and abandoned cats and dogs. Our primary focus is to save those animals from our local area.”
Logan’s parents used to bring their elderly dog Cali for rehabilitation years ago, so they made an appointment right away when he was diagnosed with a partial tear of his cranial cruciate ligament (CCL). They were hoping to avoid surgery, so a program was started that included therapeutic exercise, underwater treadmill & laser. All was going well until he went a little too crazy in the snow and fully tore the ligament! Logan soon had surgery and came back to IPC for post-surgery rehabilitation.
“We adopted Logan from the Anti-Cruelty Society in July 2014 shortly after adopting our other dog Sinna. We don’t know much about his past, other than that he came from Mississippi and that he was afraid of EVERYTHING. He literally pooped his metaphorical pants the first time he heard our garage door and wouldn’t willingly leave our bathroom for the first week or so. But oh so slowly, he gained confidence and has turned into the biggest, most loving goofball. Don’t get me wrong—he is still afraid of random things like plastic bags and street signs, but we’ve come a long way.” Kris, Logan’s mom.
“If you were to look up ‘proud therapist’ in the dictionary, there would be a picture of me staring in amazement at Logan! He has overcome injuries, but most of all his confidence at IPC has soared. I look forward to giving Logan a new challenge in the gym or during his underwater treadmill sessions because he’s always ready to show me what he’s got!” -Laura Krill, CCRA
“Yes, we’ve seen great progress and no additional injuries, but also Logan LOVES his sessions at IPC. We have technically completed his post-operative rehab program, but I plan to take him to IPC as long as they’ll have us because it is truly his happy place. Nowhere else is he so elated, so confident, and so at ease, as working out in the gym with Coach Laura.” -Kris
You can follow Logan’s, and his sisters Riley and Sinna, latest shenanigans on Instagram under Land of Misfit Dogs!
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”.
Logan has asked us to tell you about a new project his parents started with ALIVE Rescue. Kris and Nate have gone above and beyond supporting local rescues and are building a shelter in Southern Wisconsin so ALIVE Rescue can further their mission!
Rocko is 12-year-old Weimaraner who participates in upland game hunting across the country. He has achieved the title of Master Hunter, which is the highest rank in hunt test events. Outside of his hunting adventures, Rocko was also a therapy dog who visited nursing homes, hospitals and libraries. Rocko’s mom Mary, who is a veterinary technician, noticed that he had a difficult time keeping his hind end up while standing and was reluctant to run. Being the self-proclaimed overly attentive owner, she consulted with the veterinarian she worked with who suggested rehabilitation therapy.
Rocko met with Dr. Amber Ihrke who prescribed a rehabilitation program which Rocko and his mom diligently followed. “Rocko is an active sporting dog who was showing progressive signs of rear limb weakness. The x-rays of his lumbar spine and pelvis were unremarkable, so his source of weakness was unknown. We started Rocko on a plan of manual therapy, hydrotherapy, therapeutic exercises and chiropractic adjustments and each week Rocko’s mobility, endurance and flexibility improved”, explains Dr. Amber Ihrke.
“Through rehab and the dedication of his owners with his home exercise program, Rocko returned to hunting without any problems or pain in his back. Rocko continues to see us at IPC through a maintenance program. Our goal is to keep an eye on him in order to decrease the likelihood of his back causing him problems in the future.” -Valerie Willaims, one of Rocko’s therapists.
“Rocko has graduated to a maintenance program and is doing well. He is running in the field much better and is playing with the other Weimaraners in the house. Our goal is to continue with therapy and home exercises so he can go on his fall hunt trip to South Dakota; I couldn’t be happier.” – Mary, Rocko’s mom
“Rocko knows that age is only a number; all he wanted to do was get back in the field and run. After completing his initial rehabilitation program, he is doing exactly that! He is a great example of what rehabilitation can give back to older guys. He may not be able to keep up with his baby brother, but he can run and play and do whatever he wants pain free”, gushes his biggest fan & therapist, Katie.
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Rocko has asked us to tell you about Cache Creek Animal Shelter.
Our mission is to rescue and adopt out as many dogs and cats as safely possible, regardless of their age, health (we still rescue if there are health issues) or breed. In an effort to help control the increasing pet population it is our policy that each animal we adopt out is spayed or neutered.
“We got MaeBelle from a local breeder when she was 9 weeks old. She is a very sweet and loving girl…all of our nieces, nephews and grandchildren tell her ‘no Mae – Mae stop’ because she can’t stop kissing them! Mae likes to take long walks, play with tennis balls, and swim when we go camping and boating. Because of her activity level, we were caught unaware with her diagnosis of hip dysplasia in January, as she never had a prolonged period of limping or lameness. We are still not sure what triggered her limping, but we are very grateful to her primary care veterinarian who believes she was most likely born with it.
We had worked with Integrative Pet Care in the past, so we did not hesitate to bring MaeBelle in to see Dr. Starr. The care she received has been extraordinary! Every treatment is broken down so we can understand it, but more importantly it’s tailor made so that Mae’s hips can tolerate it.
In the time she has been receiving treatment, we have noticed an improvement in her mobility that we didn’t even notice she was missing. She is now playing more with our other dog and is really enjoying our walks. A HUGE thank you to her team for being so patient with her and us, and for teaching us what we need to help keep MaeBelle healthy and happy…and slimmer!” -Laura, MaeBelle’s mom
“MaeBelle and her family have been such a pleasure to work with. She has shown tremendous improvement in her comfort in her hips, strength in her hind legs, overall fitness level, and her gait after just eight weeks of physical rehabilitation. These improvements have translated into a much happier and more active dog, and are a testament to the hard work of her owners as well as how much physical rehabilitation can improve the quality of life and function for dogs with hip dysplasia. We are thrilled that MaeBelle is able to start doing more normal activities like swimming, and are looking forward to being part of her continued success.” –Dr. Lisa Starr
“I have had the pleasure of working with MaeBelle since January of this year to help improve strength in her hind limbs due to hip dysplasia. MaeBelle has been a STAR patient throughout her therapy- she always comes to therapy ready to work!” –Anna, MaeBelle’s therapist
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. MaeBelle 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. In addition, As Good as Gold educates Golden Retriever guardians and the general public about the importance of spaying/neutering, positive training methods, diet and exercise, appropriate medical treatment and humane care.
Symon was diagnosed with Intervertebral Disc Disease(IVDD) almost 4 years ago, so when his back pain started getting worse his mom wanted to do something more. “He still had his spirit and spunk, so I wanted to keep him strong and comfortable”, remembers Kristen. At the recommendation of Symon’s primary care veterinarian, Dr. Georgesen of Blum Animal Hospital, Kristen made an appointment with IPC. Symon met with Dr. Deanne Zenoni and Emma Widmark who created a treatment program that consisted twice weekly visits that focused on pain management and strengthening therapies.
Symon was suspicious of therapy at first, but soon learned that it meant lots of treats! His therapists taught his mom massage techniques and exercises she could do at home, which is something they still do to this day. After his initial 8 weeks of therapy, Dr. Zenoni thought he felt so good that he could go down to once weekly visits. Symon is now on a maintenance plan that consists of weekly underwater treadmill sessions and monthly acupuncture and therapeutic exercise & laser therapies.
“Symon is a super senior! I’m continually amazed by his abilities and efforts during his therapy sessions given his diagnosis. If I worked as hard as Sy does for a few lousy cheerios, I’d be in much better shape!” -Laura Krill
“As Sy is turning 14 this month, we are so incredibly grateful to have the support from our friends at IPC! I truly believe that Sy has the strength because of our therapy routine.” -Kristen, Symon’s mom
“Symon has done so well since starting therapy. He loves coming to see all of us, though he isn’t convinced the needles are necessary! He puts on a brave face and settles his head on his om’s lap while his acupuncture makes his back feel better.” -Dr. Zenoni
Kristen has had him since he was two months old and says he is the ultimate best buddy! “He is incredibly in tune with humans and his surroundings. I never have to worry about him wondering away because he always keeps tabs on me. He loves to be loved AND food treats!! He has managed to break into groceries and packaged food many times over the years…”
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Symon has asked us to tell you about CRISP.
CRISP is a new initiative that will pool the resources of eight local rescues to work in concert with Chicago Animal Care and Control to provide assistance and support for pet owners in need, divert owner surrendered animals to accredited rescues, and ultimately reduce the number of dogs surrendered at Chicago Animal Care and Control.
Hydrotherapy can be a beneficial modality for treating a variety of conditions in dogs including mobility issues, recovery from surgery or injury, degenerative joint disease or arthritis and neurological conditions.
The buoyancy of the water reduces stress on the joints, so the patient can move more comfortably. Hydrotherapy sessions also help to build and maintain muscle mass, which is often compromised after surgery. Moving against the resistance of the water works the muscles efficiently and builds strength.
“The warm temperature helps warm up tissues thereby increasing range of motion,” explains Dr. Zenoni.