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.
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.