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.
Walter is an 8 year old Dachshund who we first met 3 years ago following his first Hemilaminectomy (back) surgery. His mom, Dr. Julia Georgesen from Blum Animal Hospital, knew rehabilitation was a crucial part of recovery, so she came to IPC for an evaluation.
Walter met with Dr. Deanne Zenoni and Emma who prescribed an 8 week treatment program that included twice weekly underwater treadmill & therapeutic exercise/laser sessions. Walter looked great after completing his first rehabilitation program, so his mom decided to take a break. Unfortunately, Walter needed a second surgery last year and he came back to IPC soon after.
Walter was again prescribed a twice weekly program of underwater treadmill & therapeutic exercise/laser sessions. This time his mom was taught how to do certain exercises and massage techniques to extend his treatment at home.
Walter looked fantastic after his 8 week program, but Dr. Georgesen decided to continue coming once weekly as part of our maintenance program which she says “is great for Walter’s health and he loves going”!
“I’ve known Dr. Georgesen on a professional level for years as we share many cases. Working with her and Walter on a personal level has been such an enjoyable experience!” -Dr. Deanne Zenoni
Walter diligently comes to IPC every Monday and spends the day with us while him mom is at work. While not in his therapy sessions, he can be found eating lunch with his therapist Emma or cuddling with our patient service coordinators. It’s no secret that Walter is a staff favorite!
“What can I say about Walter… I love him!” -Emma
During the work week, Walter goes to work with his mom and little brother Kevin at Blum Animal Hospital. At home he indulges in his favorite activities, sleeping close to the fire & eating.
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Walter has asked us to tell you about where his little brother Kevin was adopted from, Midwest Dachshund Rescue!
Midwest Dachshund Rescue is a 501(c)3 all-volunteer organization that was founded in 2003. We help our communities (individuals, families and humane societies/shelters) safely rehome and rehabilitate dachshunds and dachshund mixes.
“Charlie has been a part of our family since he was 10 weeks old, joining Buffy, a 5-year-old blind Cocker Spaniel and Sadie, an 8-year-old Cocker Spaniel. Charlie’s very energetic, social with everyone and very loving. He loves to spend time out in his yard running around the pool at full speed trying to get his other brothers and sisters to play with him. He would rather sit out in the grass or on the deck on a nice warm summers day than to take a nice cool dip in the pool with the others.
In June of this year Charlie became very wobbly as he walked, and suddenly had no control over his legs at all; it was like he became paralyzed and was having severe muscle spasms in his chest area. I immediately called his doctors at Colonial Manor and brought him in. After taking x-rays and doing a full exam Charlie was diagnosed with a form of myelopathy and disc problems and I was told that he may never walk again. From that moment on, Charlie became immobile and had to be carried everywhere. I couldn’t give up on my sweet baby boy. After a few weeks he began to move his legs again and a few more days after that he started to get up, but that quickly stopped, and he was down and immobile again. Hand water and feeding him and diaper changes throughout the day and night had to happen again and it was worse than the first time.” -Brian, Charlie’s dad.
Charlie was referred to Integrative Pet Care Homer Glen where he met with Dr. Amber Ihke and therapist Valerie Williams who created a treatment program which included NMES (electrical stimulaton), underwater treadmill, therapeutic exercise & acupuncture.
“Charlie is a stubborn guy who improved in spite of himself. He came to us non-ambulatory and wasn’t motivated to get up and move. We began with instructing the owner how to use an NMES unit on all four of the patient’s limbs to stimulate muscular contraction. Although Charlie would not move during his therapy sessions, his owner reported slow improvements at home with increased mobility. Eventually, Charlie was able to stand with support and he began exercising in the underwater treadmill. Finally, it seemed like Charlie turned a corner and returned to walking outside at home without assist and even began negotiating stairs to enter and exit his home!” -Valerie
“Charlie is our little miracle; he could literally do nothing on his own! After weeks of intensive therapy and the diligent care giving of his owner, Charlie is now walking and running independently. A true testament to the power of rehabilitation.” -Dr. Amber Ihrke
“With Integrative Pet Care of Homer Glen’s therapy plan along with daily home exercises & NMES while using his cart, Charlie started to show signs of movement. As of today, he got his appetite back and enjoys his food on his own and he is out walking around the yard again and even does some running around. He is back to going for short rides in the car and he is even going for short walks again to the local park. I never gave up on my little guy and neither did Dr. Ihrke and Valerie who made it their personal mission to get Charlie walking again and give him his quality of life back. THANK YOU Integrative Pet Care!” -Brian
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Charlie has asked us to tell you about Tender Loving Care Animal Shelter.
T.L.C. has served the community as a private, non-profit, humane society, dedicated to the prevention of abuse, neglect, and cruelty to animals. The shelter provides refuge for an average of three to four thousand animals yearly.
Here’s small snippets of Charlie’s road to recovery:
Jeanne met Barry as a puppy in 2012 on the set of a TV show she used to host when he was featured as an adoptable dog. “I always say he picked me because he sat on the couch next to me and didn’t move for the entire show. I liked having him that close to me, even though he was a little stinky” recalls Jeanne.
While Barry has always had knee issues on and off his whole life, one completely gave out earlier this year and his primary care veterinarian discovered significant damage to the ligaments in both knees. At the recommendation of her veterinarian and 2 friends, Jeanne made an appointment at Integrative Pet Care where she met with Dr. Megan Ridley. Dr. Ridley agreed that surgery was the best option for his bilateral torn cranial cruciate ligaments.
Barry started a prehab program of twice weekly massage/laser treatments until he had surgery with Dr. Paula West a month later at Veterinary Specialty Center. He came back soon after and was prescribed a twice weekly rehabilitation program that included massage, laser, exercise & underwater treadmill. Barry excelled at his treatments and once his left knee healed, he had the same surgery on the right.
“I initially came to IPC seeking a second opinion on his surgeries because I wanted to make sure I made the best choice for his treatment. And 7 months later, Dr. Ridley, Erin, Lindsey and the whole IPC staff have helped us through both surgeries with rehab, advice and all the support we could ever ask for. And Barry LOVES it at IPC!” -Jeanne
“Despite the fact that Barry thinks his rehab sessions are actually social calls, he works really hard when he’s at IPC and always has a positive attitude (unless someone runs out of treats!). His mom’s dedication to his recovery has been incredible- she keeps him in line and makes sure he does his exercises at home, even when he’d rather be sleeping. They’re both so much fun and such a pleasure to work with!” -Lindsey, Barry’s therapist & #1 fan
Barry has done so well, that he was graduated to a maintenance plan. We see Barry once weekly for either a underwater treadmill or a combo exercise/massage/laser session! While we miss seeing him twice a week, we’re so happy that he’s doing well.
“Barry is a beagle mix, so his approach to life is very hound-ish… he’s lazy in the house but is ready to go out anytime, and has his nose to the ground the entire time he’s outside. His schedule is as follows: stretch, eat, walk, nap, beg for treats, play, sleep… rinse & repeat. And as you can tell by the pictures, he almost always has the same expression on his face” explains Jeanne.
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Barry has asked us to tell you about Heartland Animal Shelter.
Heartland’s mission is: a) to provide a no-kill shelter for the care, humane treatment, and adoption of lost, stray, and abandoned animals; b) to find permanent, loving homes for homeless animals and promote responsible pet ownership through education, community outreach, and collaboration while maintaining respect and compassion for all creatures.
There are a number of benefits that swimming in our resistance pool can provide whether for a dog on the mend or a canine athlete looking to maintain endurance.
“There are a lot of reasons I prescribe the resistance pool,” explains Dr. Zenoni. “There’s an overall increase in cardiovascular circulation as well as elbow flexion. Being in the pool allows the muscles more range of motion. Dogs with shoulder, elbow, or carpus issues tend to be good candidates for this type of modality.”
Swimming in the resistance pool is also good for amputees as gaiting can sometimes be difficult in the underwater treadmill. Dogs that are experiencing stiffness may find that sessions in the pool release some of that tension when they are able to float and relax their muscles. The therapist working with a patient like this may choose to guide the dog in gentle range of motion or massage while in the pool to ease muscle tightness.
The pool is also a great conditioning tool for active/athletic dogs.
“It’s a way to build muscle and work on stamina as well as overall body conditioning,” says Dr. Zenoni. Laura Krill, CCRA, likes the versatility the resistance pool can offer for patients. “For stronger patients, we might do a session without the life jacket on so that they are using more of their own body to keep them afloat. Weights or a resistance band can also be used to make it a little more challenging. On the other end, our more geriatric patients can benefit from the massage jets.”
It is important to have a rehabilitation veterinarian evaluate each patient to determine if their condition would be appropriately managed by therapeutic swimming. “There may be circumstances, health or orthopedic, that can hinder the resistance pool’s effectiveness,” states Dr. Zenoni.
While sitting at their daughter’s college track meet in Alabama, Bill & Laurie received a text message with a picture of a 5 week old pit mix who had been abandoned at their vet’s office. The situation was reminiscent of how that got their dog Bruce, so of course they stopped and picked her up!
“Through the years Roxy shared our life, swimming, walking, and playing with us! She communicates well when she needs something and is easy to please. She’s a loving lap dog, although some people look worried when they see her.” -Bill & Laurie
“Roxy presented to us for a torn cranial cruciate ligament that had been determined to be the cause of her lameness over the previous months. We were able to work closely with her surgeon and get her rehabilitation program started shortly after her TPLO surgery. Her program consisted of manual therapy, laser ,and underwater treadmill therapies. She initially presented as non-weight bearing to just toe-touching on her left hind limb with loss of muscle mass and muscle tone present.
Within just 4 weeks, she progressed to just a subtle lameness and had gained muscle mass and strength of the left hind limb. She breezed through the next four weeks of therapeutic exercises and by eight weeks, was bearing weight normally in all limbs. It was wonderful to see Roxy’s rapid progression back to her old self and her case shows how beneficial a post-operative rehabilitation program can be for return to function. Her amazing family is so committed to her and continue to work on exercises at home to keep Roxy in tip-top shape!” – Dr. Melissa Trupia
“We love Roxy! Roxy is full of energy and she loves to speak to us throughout her exercise sessions. Her owners followed our recommendations and we worked to help Roxy return to her spunky self. Roxy loved performing her exercises, but she always had to voice her opinion during her sessions. The one thing I’ll never forgot about Roxy is how much she “spoke” to us throughout her sessions. Roxy was such a fun patient and made great progress with rehab.” – PT, Valerie Williams
“Roxy is a sweet and extraordinarily chatty girl who warmed up to us very quickly at IPC. She worked hard with us and at home with her parents to make great strides in her rehab program!:- Tiffany, Roxy’s therapist
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Roxy has asked us to tell you about the adoptable dogs through Boxer Rebound, Inc.
Boxer Rebound is a volunteer run, 501c3 not-for-profit corporation dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation & placement of the Boxer Breed of dog. Our mission is threefold: (1) to rescue & rehabilitate Boxers in need; (2) to place them in appropriate homes when feasible; and (3) to educate the general public with respect to quality pet care for all dogs.
“I first brought Frango to IPC in 2005 for a consult to rule out pain as a reason for his aggression. X-rays revealed that while his hips were not the best, they weren’t the worst either. Due to his young age, it was too soon to determine if he had Hip Dysplasia and after a few visits, anything orthopedic was ruled out as a reason for his aggression. We continued to work with a trainer and strengthened our bond through sports like agility and retrieving.
In 2010, Frango started to refuse stairs and diagnostics revealed that he did indeed have hip dysplasia. He also developed both Osteochondrosis Dissecans and Biceps Tenosynovitis in his right shoulder, which may have been due to overcompensating during his high impact activities. Frango took a break from sports and returned to Integrative Pet Care to start a 10 week treatment ‘pre-hab’ program that included twice weekly resistance pool and laser therapy sessions. Frango then had surgery on his right shoulder and bore weight the day after surgery, amazing everyone, even his surgeon!
Post surgery, he was prescribed an 8 week program which consisted of resistance pool, laser therapy, and therapeutic exercise. After completion, he continued coming every 2 weeks for resistance pool and monthly chiropractic adjustments.
Unfortunately Frango injured his left knee by slipping going up the stairs in January 2017. He no longer seemed to benefit from the resistance pool, so Dr. Megan Ridley created a new a new treatment program which consisted of weekly underwater treadmill, laser therapy sessions. He was also fitted for a Help ‘Em Up Harness which helped prevent further injury to his knee on the stairs or getting in and out of the car. I was concerned that Frango would miss the pool, but he excelled on the Underwater Treadmill, loving the massage jets on his hind end! Then in the Summer, Frango headed to the pool which was the first time he had done this in awhile, so we started alternating underwater treadmill and resistance pool sessions.
IPC has helped to maximize Frango’s strength and endurance for many years. It prepared him for a major surgery and promoted the positive outcomes & helped ease his transition into retirement by keeping him conditioned and allowed his ability to still participate in low impact sports. Frango’s visits to IPC are the highlight of his week! The treatment he receives gives him the chance to feel like Mr. Big Stuff.
Frango’s life has become pretty mellow. He goes for walks twice daily and sleeps the day away waiting for my husband and I to return home from work. He’s ready for a treat every time we come or go and anytime in between! Anytime I’m working in the kitchen he is at my side playing ‘sous chef’. And when my husband and I relax on the couch at night, he solicits his booty massages.
Now Frango is battling against Cancer. A tumor was discovered on his left anal sac and had spread to his lymph nodes. He will undergo removal of a lymph node as well as the tumor on his anal sac and then go through chemotherapy. I know we can count on our friends at IPC to help ease any pain and discomfort he may encounter during the treatment. I also know that all of the conditioning Frango has done at IPC through the years has helped make him a resilient, strong dog and has prepared him well for this, his final battle.”
Retrieving Freedom, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to training service dogs to help people. Our three primary focuses are training dogs to serve the needs of veterans, children with autism and individuals living with diabetes.
Live Like Roo, a 501C3 organization, provides support and financial assistance to families whose pet faces a cancer diagnosis. Our mission is that together, you and your pet will #LiveLikeRoo.
“Reese was born June 1, 2013 and was part of a six-puppy litter. All his litter mates compete in, and totally love, the game of agility. Reese is no exception.
Earlier this year we noticed that Reese was not performing as well as he once had. A friend suggested taking Reese to Integrative Pet Care. We chose to bring him to the Homer Glen location.
After the initial analysis, it was determined that Reese had a complex shoulder issue/injury. Doctor Amber Ihrke and Valerie the therapist at the Homer Glen location devised a four-week plan that would strengthen and develop the shoulder. By the end of the four-week session, Reese had a lot more flexibility and mobility in that shoulder and was very comfortable putting more weight on the affected area.
He is now back to competing in agility and looks great. We are very happy with everything that was done for Reese by the Integrative Pet Care team.”
– Bill & Linda, Reese’s parents
“Reese came to us for continued soreness with his shoulder that was hindering his ability to participate in agility. His examination revealed decreased weight bearing on his right front leg and discomfort with his supraspinatus and biceps tendon. He was diagnosed with a right supraspinatus tendinopathy. Reese was treated with therapeutic ultrasound and therapeutic exercises. After four weeks, he had improved weight bearing on his right front leg and the client had not noticed any lameness. Today, Reese is back doing the activity he loves…. agility!”
“Reese worked very hard at IPC and did everything we asked as long as a treat was involved. His dad was very dedicated to him and his exercise program. Together they were an amazing team and fun to work with.”
– Tiffany Helphingstine, CCRA
“Reese is a very sweet and quite guy who was up for anything as long as his dad was around to cheer him on. He was active in agility but had to take break due to a front limb injury. Reese and his dad were both hard workers which made working with them a breeze! With ultrasound, therapeutic exercises, and manual therapy Reese was able to continue to compete in agility with improving function of the front limb.”
– Katie Fitzgerald PT, DPT, CCRP
“Reese was a great patient! He was a working dog that performed agility and he came to us because pain and lameness in his right shoulder. After performing therapeutic ultrasound to provide deep heat to his shoulder, I used manual therapy to decrease the trigger points and pain and improve his range of motion. Reese made great progress with his manual therapy and therapeutic exercise sessions. Through the commitment of his owner to his home exercise program and rehab at IPC, Reese could return to his agility trials without any problems or re occurrence of his symptoms. Reese now sees me monthly for manual therapy sessions to maintain his mobility and range of motion so he can continue to complete in agility without limitations.”
-Valerie Williams, PT, DPT, ATRIC, CCRP
Make a Difference
This month, Reese has asked you to check out Central Illinois Sheltie Rescue! You can learn more about them on their website at http://www.illinoissheltierescue.com/
In May of 2017, the founder of Bialy’s Wellness Foundation, Erin, was contacted by Chicagoland Bully Breed Rescue about a 2 month old French Bulldog puppy who was unable to walk. They needed an experienced foster home and funding for rehabilitation to get her mobile as soon as possible. Erin agreed and Gertie came to Integrative Pet Care immediately.
After meeting with Dr. Megan Ridley and Emma, it was suspected that Swimmer Puppy Syndrome was the cause of her mobility issues. An intense rehabilitation program was prescribed which included daily exercise and swimming therapy sessions. Everyone on staff pitched in to work with Gertie whenever they could. Erin, who is also a canine rehabilitation and massage therapist at IPC, diligently worked with her at home as well.
Within in the first week, Gertie improved greatly; she was able to support herself and could even take a few steps independently! While swimming wasn’t her favorite activity, she did it without complaint all while looking adorable in her life jacket. After a few weeks she was walking on her own and doing advanced exercises in the gym.
Being part of her transformation was an amazing experience for everyone involved and lots of tears were shed in the process! -Dr. Megan Ridley
Gertie was officially adopted in June to a neighbor so Erin can still bring her for therapy everyday. Today she is 6 months old and is a happy & healthy puppy. Being part of Gertie’s transformation has been a wonderful experience for everyone on staff.
Gertie has since become a ‘spokesdog’ for Bialy’s Wellness Foundation as she is an incredible success story! You can follow her adventures on Instagram- @the_little_avocado.
Check out this progress video of our beloved Gertie (aka 🥑). Thank you to: Chicagoland Bully Breed Rescue for taking her into your adoption program; Integrative Pet Care for the amazing rehabilitation therapists and veterinarians that worked your magic to help Gertie become mobile; Boulevard Veterinary for your always generous, kind and attentive staff & veterinarians; Josh the Pitbull – Special Needs and Happy for fostering our Little Avocado. #GertieStrong
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Gertie has asked us to tell you about the organization that changed her life, Bialy’s Wellness Foundation.
“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.”
Hayde is an 11 year old Labrador whose high energy was initially directed toward hunting drills and trick training (she learned over 50 commands). “At 2 years old, she had already become a phenomenal hunting dog; able to put her game face on and get right to business. Even at 10 years old, she was still able to go full tilt for a week, jumping game in marshes, teaching her 2-year-old sister a thing or two about drive. Many a times we had to drag the stubborn mule out of the canoe at the end of the day as she just didn’t want to stop.
While hunting is her passion (and, strangely, licking freshly caught fish), she soon became a running partner in the off season, helping train for over a dozen marathons. During this, Hayde would reach a maximum distance of 19 miles only to come home and head straight to the back yard to play.” -Jeremy, Hayde’s owner
On April 27th, Hayde was out for a run with her sister when she was clipped by a car bumper. Her pelvis was completed shattered, so she had surgery at VCA Aurora Animal Hospital. Soon after surgery, Hayde met with Dr. Amber Irke and Valerie at Integrative Pet Care in Homer Glen where a multi-modal 12 week program was created.
“When I first met Hayde her owners had to carry her in on a board because she could not walk or stand. Our first focus was to control her pain, so her owners were instructed on how to correctly use a TENS unit every day at home. She also received manual therapy sessions to decrease her muscle spasms and increase her hip range of motion.
Within two and half weeks Hayde went from being carried on a board to walking with a little help. She continued to make remarkable gains through the use of laser therapy and the underwater treadmill. She now walks around by herself and has returned to regular, long walks with her owners. I truly believe that without rehab Hayde would not have progressed so quickly and regained her ability to walk and play like she was able to before her accident.” – Valerie Williams
IPC Homer Glen initially helped to get Hayde’s pain under control so we could begin rehab exercises. Over the next few months IPC Homer Glen worked with Hayde and taught us the exercises needed to get her strength and flexibility back so she could eventually get back to standing, walking, and, finally, running. Most importantly Hayde could be herself again. -Jeremy
“Hayde’s story is truly inspirational. Watching the improvements, she made every week is a testament to the canine spirit. She never let anything slow her down and I’m so happy she is able to go back to doing what she loves, running with her parents” says therapist Katie Neforos.
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Hayde has asked us to tell you about the adoptable dogs through The Dog District.