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.
I adopted Max 14 years ago. He had been picked up as a stray in Gary, IN and was living in a foster home. Max has been my shadow ever since. He is an incredible dog, with a unique and quirky personality. At the time I adopted Max, I lived with my parents, but my father passed away after an illness about two years later. My mom died three years ago as well (she came to live with my husband and me while in hospice care). While both my parents were ill, Max stayed faithfully by their sides and was a huge source of comfort for them both. He chooses who he loves very carefully, but once he loves you, he does so with all his heart.
He has struggled with anxiety and fear aggression throughout his time with me, but is as sweet as can be with children and people with disabilities. He is so sweet with my toddler and adores our new baby.
Max has really come out of his shell since undergoing treatments for his injury. He is much more receptive to meeting new people and sometimes allows strangers to approach and pet him (this is a big deal). I really believe it’s because he has experienced such kindness and positive interactions with the staff at IPC.
When Max started with IPC, he was unable to use his hind legs. He had no pain response in the right and little in his left. Seeing his progress over the last couple of months has felt like a miracle to us. I love when I go in for therapy with him, because he seems so proud to show me around and show off his skills. The staff is amazing…it is clear they love my boy, and he loves them right back. I can’t express how thankful we are that we found IPC!
“It has been such a joy to see Max blossom both physically and emotionally while undergoing physical rehabilitation with us. Initially, he was nervous to come in and take treats from us and was unable to walk outside of his cart. Now, he is excited to see us, looks for food, and is game for whatever we ask him to do during his sessions. We are so thrilled that rehab has helped him to walk independently again. It’s been an honor to share in his success story. Despite being 14 year old, Max looks more active and younger every time he comes to visit us!”
– Dr. Lisa Starr, DVM, CCRP, CVA, CVSMT
I love coming into work and helping Max! He is such an inspiration and the sweetest boy.
I was truly amazed with how fast he progressed, he does not look like the same dog that came in only a few months ago.
Everyone at IPC and HPACC love seeing him and are always cheering him on. Great job Max!!!
– Katie Sulzmann CVMRT, ATC
Make a Difference!
We ask our POTM to choose a NFP group to promote and this is what Max’s family said:
We are big supporters of the Live Like Roo Foundation, which provides care packages to dogs with cancer. That’s where we would love a donation in Max’s name to be sent. They even sent Max a care package when I contacted them for donation information. It’s a 501c3 charity, so the donation is tax deductible. It can be sent to the following:
Live Like Roo Foundation
c/o Sarah Lauch, 5830 North Melvina, Chicago, IL 60646
Or via PayPal at email@example.com
Ever think a dog could pull a wheelie? Well, Hershey can & does! Hershey started rehab with us in April 2014. Although looking at him you would never know it, Hershey has the highest grade of hip dysplasia that a pet can have. He doesn’t let that slow him down though.
“When I first saw Hershey, he had one of the worst cases of hip dysplasia I have seen in 20 years. I cannot believe how stoic of a dog he is to not show any clinical signs before now. He is truly a great companion to his family and a great patient to work on.”
This past spring, Gracie was paralyzed in both hind legs due to intervertebral disc disease. She underwent surgery in February 2015 on her back and her prognosis to walk again, from the neurologist/ surgeon, was not good.
“In February of this year we were told that Gracie would never walk again when her emergency surgery – although successful – didn’t have the outcome that we had hoped for. Thankfully we reached out to Dr. Rosemary for a second opinion and we were given hope for the first time.