Pearl came to Integrative Pet Care Homer Glen in September 2018 following a hemilaminectomy (spinal cord surgery), which left her unable to use her rear limbs. The prognosis was poor for Pearl to walk again, but we knew that our therapies could improve her quality of life.
Pearl was prescribed laser therapy and massage by Dr. Amber Ihrke to help her recover post surgery. Her owners were also shown how to use electrical stimulation with an NMES (neuromuscular e-stim) unit to strengthen her rear limbs at home. NMES stimulates nerves and muscles to prevent muscle atrophy (muscle mass loss) and strengthen specific muscles.
“Unfortunately, over time it became apparent that she may not regain use of her rear limbs. We discussed placing her in a cart with her owners, and after some time they agreed that is was the right choice. And was it ever- Pearl has not slowed down since!” -Katie
Although Pearl did not regain use of her rear limbs after surgery, she now runs around and has complete independent mobility in her cart. Pearl’s cart gives her the freedom she needs to live a happy and healthy life. -Valerie
“The fabulous team of Dr. Amber, Dr. Melissa, Katie, and Valerie were there to help us. Professional, caring and knowledgeable are just a few of the adjectives we would use to describe them. They guided us through all the treatments, teaching us what we needed to know in how to care of our Pearl. Today, Pearl still takes walks and runs, but now in her ‘Hot Wheel Cart’. Sometimes we can’t even keep up with her!! She is able to run through her yard and participate in all the things she could before her injury, including tons of hugs and kisses. THANK YOU to all at Integrative Pet Care. We don’t know what we would have done without you.” -Pearl’s owner
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Pearl has asked us to tell you about the shelter she was adopted from, 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.
Stockton is a 10 year old happy go lucky Boxer who began therapy at Integrative Pet Care in February after being diagnosed with Degenerative Myleopathy (DM). DM is a progressive disease of the spinal cord that begins with a loss of coordination (ataxia) in the hind limbs which will eventually progress to additional areas of the body. While there isn’t a cure for DM, physical rehabilitation can be helpful in maintaining mobility.
His parents Sebastian and Shannon had heard of Integrative Pet Care’s amazing staff and services through numerous people, so it was a no brainer to make an appointment. Stockton met with Dr. Deanne Zenoni who created a treatment plan which consisted of exercise, massage, laser therapy, massage, and acupuncture. It was then that he met his main therapist Lindsey and they created an instant bond.
“Stockton learned pretty early on how to manipulate me into feeding him near-constant treats, but I learned how to use his determination to my advantage. I feel like we make a pretty good pair! He’s a really hard worker when he’s here and the support he gets from his parents at home has really helped keep him as strong as possible”
Stockton’s therapy doesn’t end at IPC. His parents were taught exercises and massage to do at home, as well how to perform electrical stimulation (neuromuscular e-stim), which can be helpful in strengthening muscles and preventing atrophy.
“To say that Stockton loves the staff would be a huge understatement! He literally whines and cries for attention while waiting to start his appointment and we can barely get him to leave once he’s done!” -Sebastian
A typical day includes lots of snoozing, watching his TV programs, and performing his neighborhood watch duties, preferable at the Park. He also uses his striking good looks to constantly trick his Mom and Dad into giving him treats! His parents also feel that IPC has kept Stockton active mentally and physically through a wide array of treatments that he excitedly looks forward to each day.
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Stockton would like to give a shout out to 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. OTAT achieves this through the rescue and adoption of dogs in need, comprehensive support of adopters, and community outreach including humane education programs and assistance for disadvantaged and low-income families.
When Koda began to have difficulty walking, primary care veterinarian, Dr. Cynthia Cecott of Veterinary of Tinley Park, Koda’s recommended scheduling an appointment at Integrative Pet Care of Homer Glen. At his initial evaluation, they met with Dr. Amber Ihrke and PT Valerie who devised a custom rehabilitation plan to address his specific needs. They suspected he had Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) and a genetic test confirmed the diagnosis.
Koda started right away with treatments such as: manual therapy with dry needling to address his many myofascial trigger points, underwater treadmill and exercises for strengthening, and massage therapy to keep him comfortable. He was also measured for a cart, which would greatly improve his mobility and quality of life!
“It is amazing to see the difference in Koda’s attitude and personality since starting with us as he does not like to be handled much. But when it comes to his cart, he is a whole new dog! Koda stands calmly for me to place him in and out of his cart and will even sit next to in until I am ready to put him in it. He really understands that the cart is helping him and he is happier in it.” -Katie Neforos
“Koda showed us the importance of measuring our patients for a cart when they can still stand independently. By placing our patients with DM in carts early on, they can have significant improvement in their overall mobility and quality of life.” -Valerie
His owners gave us a brief history of Koda- He was brought to Cry for Help Rescue in 2016 after he was found tied up and left behind after his owners moved. It was not known how long he was tied up, but the abuse he endured caused him constant pain and made him a little aggressive towards others. Since we adopted him, Koda’s temperament has changed; he now has two other doggie brothers and my grandchildren love him!
“Integrative Pet Care has helped Koda tremendously! Without their help, he would not be able to enjoy the things he loves. They fit him for a harness/brace that he wears daily and they also helped fit him for a cart. Since the addition of the cart, Koda has be able to return to his daily walks around the neighborhood with his doggie brothers.” -Koda’s owner
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Koda has asked us to tell you about Cry For Help Rescue.
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
“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.
Integrative Pet Care was recommended when Ralph’s mom Peggy was searching for ways to improve his mobility. Ralph met with Dr. Amber Ihrke and a rehabilitation program was created that included underwater treadmill, therapeutic exercise & acupuncture.
“Ralph came to us with T3-L3 myelopathy without much functional use of his rear limbs. Having only two strong limbs to get around with didn’t stop Ralph too much from speeding from one place to the next, but he would just drag the rear limbs behind him. Good thing for Ralph, he really likes treats and was agreeable to some challenging work if he got some treats along the way.” – Katie Fitzgerald, one of Ralph’s therapists
Through his therapy program, Ralph improved quite a bit. He could stand on all four limbs and maintain the position to eat and drink, but his mom wanted to do more. Ralph was fitted for a cart to give him independent mobility. “Once Ralph was placed in his cart he began running around the rehab room. He easily negotiated the thresholds and quickly learned how to back up when his wheel hit a doorway or wall. I could not believe how fast Ralph adapted to his cart and how much happier he appeared with his new-found freedom in his cart. Ralph’s smiled seemed a bit brighter (tongue hanging out and all) after receiving his cart. We could not be happier for Ralph” -Valerie Williams
“From the first moment in his cart, Ralph was walking up/down the halls, walking in the grass and enjoying his new-found freedom.” -Dr. Ihrke
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Ralph has asked us to tell you about All Breed Rescue and Adoption, Inc.
Our mission is twofold: to save as many dogs and cats from living their final days in shelters and pounds as we can, and to educate the public so that one day our rescue won’t be necessary.
We first met Abbey in July 2016 when she originally came in for hind limb lameness. Her limp quickly worsened, so her parents found themselves not only seeing her primary care veterinarian, but a neurologist and IPC as well. After evaluating Abbey, Dr. Ridley sent her back to the neurologist where a hemilaminectomy (spinal surgery) was performed. Unfortunately she developed pneumonia which made her road to recovery much harder.
Maverick is the quintessential story of a country dog living in a big city as he moved from rural Virginia to Chicago 6 years ago. He spent his days wandering around and all was well until he was found lying in a ditch with with exposed bone beneath his left knee. No one knew exactly what happened, but he was taken to the vet where an amputation was performed. As if that weren’t enough he was later attacked by other dogs which damaged his rear end. Back he went to the vet to get patched up, but after pulling out his stitches a few times his owner had enough and wanted to euthanize him. Maverick’s future aunt worked at the animal hospital and persuaded his owner to relinquish him. She called her sister in law Laura, who was visiting soon, to se
e if she was interested in getting a dog. All it took was Maverick resting his head on Laura’s foot for her to know he was their dog.
Dogs become such an integral part of the family that it’s impossible to imagine not providing them with the best quality of life. But, like humans, dogs are susceptible to disease and injury, sometimes resulting in mobility issues or even amputation.
Luckily, there are many options to manage your dog’s quality of life in regards to their mobility and comfort. One such option might be the use of a cart or a “dog wheelchair.” This device can help dogs who are suffering from paralysis, amputatio n, limb deformities, neurologic conditions and limb weakness.
There are many benefits to carts, beyond freedom; dogs suffering from neurologic conditions are essentially retraining their nervous system to stand in a normal position when they use a cart. It also reduces and relieves muscle tension and helps regain strength and a cart allows for better mobility and a decrease in the stress on parts of their body due to over-compensation.
Ryno was adopted in 2005 from Chicago Animal Care and Control when he was 18 months old. He lived a relatively normal life until he was injured in a grooming accident in 2010. After two unsuccessful surgeries to repair his left rear leg, he developed a massive infection and a large ulcer and it was determined that they leg had to be amputated. After two weeks, Ryno slowly adjusted to life as a tripod. He was able to figure out how to squat, run and walk up a flight of stairs without assistance. His resilience enabled him to persevere and never look back.