“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:
Molly is a Bichon Frise who had surgery on her left knee for a CCL tear in May 2016. She recovered well, but unfortunately tore her left CCL in January 2017. She had surgery, but needed a revision in July 2017. Molly didn’t recovery as quickly as her previous surgery, so her surgeon Dr. Robbins at Veterinary Specialty Center referred her to Integrative Pet Care Hanover Park.
Molly met with Dr. Jennifer Blake who did a thorough examination and developed an appropriate treatment plan that included underwater treadmill, laser therapy, therapeutic exercise, & massage therapy. “Molly always comes to therapy ready to work! She does a great job walking in the underwater treadmill. A few small pieces of bacon treats generally does the trick to keep her walking; it has been a pleasure working with Molly!” says Molly’s therapist, Anna
“ Molly was a superstar patient and did wonderfully. Her parents and pet sitter worked with her here and at home and Molly has recovered completely. When watching Molly run and play you would never be able to tell that she had surgery on both of her knees! We will miss sweet Molly at rehab, but are ecstatic that she has done so well.” –Dr. Jennifer Blake
“Molly has rebounded so quickly and we know that much of that is from the expert care we received at IPC-Hanover Park! In fact, today she got clearance from her surgeon for a full return to her active life! We can’t thank everyone enough for the fabulous care our Molly received! Thanks to IPC-HP she is back to her happy, peppy self again! Today she even chased an opossum out of our yard!” -Molly’s mom, Paula
“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.
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.
Kody is an almost 17 year old Sheltie who was referred to Integrative Pet Care by his primary care veterinarian at Family Pet Animal Hospital for mobility issues a year and a half ago. Kody developed arthritis in his front limbs which prevented him from climbing stairs, so his mom had to carry him. Char wanted to do everything she could to keep him strong and comfortable!
Dr. Deanne Zenoni created a treatment plan that included underwater treadmill, therapeutic exercise, massage, laser and acupuncture. Kody wasn’t too sure about his therapies at first, but he quickly learned to enjoy them. His mom also thinks coming to IPC for love has also eased his car anxiety.
“Even though Kody hasn’t been able to go up the stairs again, I know the exercising and treatments he does are making a difference with his strength and flexibility. He, of course, walks slower like the senior dog that he is, but at times, he’ll all of a sudden get a spring in his step – at 16! IPC has helped slow down the inevitable decline that happens in senior dogs. Plus he’s still able to jump up on the couch (his favorite place to sleep).
Kody also gets to be in an incredibly loving community when he comes to IPC, which I think is quite healing. It’s amazing to me how he has settled in with the people and treatments. He was anxious at first but now sprawls on Dr. Zenoni’s lap during acupuncture (he’s not a lap dog at all with me), and he leans into Lindsey when she gives him a massage. Kody had little to no love in the first 5 ½ years of his life (he was used to breed and lived outside in a trailer park). I feel like I bring him to a place where he is surrounded by love. It warms my heart to see how well he’s treated and loved here, and I’m so happy for him to have this experience in his later years. Coming to IPC has also solidified Kody’s love of McDonald’s cheeseburgers (with no onions) as he gets one after every time he comes!
Unfortunately Kody has lost his eyesight over the years, but he manages and has adapted amazingly, particularly in places he knows. The night time and new places are the hardest for him. When we walk in the evening and in new places, I try to be his ‘eyes’ for him. He also searches for me when I’m right there in my place so I know he’s lost quite a bit of his sight.” -Char, Kody’s mom
“Kody has the attitude and resilience of a dog 1/3 his age – he never ceases to amaze me! The significant increase in his mobility over the years is a testament to how important it is to keep an older dog active both at therapy and at home. He’s a joy to work with and is always willing to try something new – I love knowing that his mom puts him through his paces and helps keep him active and engaged on a daily basis!” -Lindsey, Kody’s therapist
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Kody has asked us to tell you about Central Illinois Sheltie Rescue.
“Central Illinois Sheltie Rescue is a 501(c)(3) Non Profit, State Licensed, ALL Volunteer organization that helps homeless or abandoned Shetland Sheepdogs…also known as “Shelties”. We take in any Sheltie that needs us, address all their needs, and then place them in wonderful new homes.”
Duke is a dutch shepherd/black lab mix who tore his cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) over a year ago. His surgery had to be postponed since his dad David was was stationed in Germany at the time. Once he arrived home, Duke was off to see Dr. Abell at VCA Aurora where a tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO) surgery was performed.
David knew how import rehabilitation was post surgery so he did his homework and chose Integrative Pet Care because of their certified staff. “After 4 weeks of sleeping on a mattress on the floor in the basement with Duke, we had our first Integrative Pet Care appointment. The massage therapist was amazing and I could definitely tell Duke felt really relaxed and comfortable with her. It was a perfect way to introduce Duke to the IPC program and later we started the underwater treadmill and laser therapies. I have to say I noticed an IMMEDIATE improvement in his gait after laser sessions. Duke loves the water so every time we came, he would head straight for the tank hoping he was going to get to play in the water.” -David
David and Duke were eager to get him back to his favorite activity, swimming, so once he was cleared by the surgeon, he was off to the pool! The duo recently moved to Switzerland where Duke is able to to swim at least once weekly outside and he loves every minute of it. Even though David notices the occasional limp when Duke’s been overly active, he says that he is doing 100% better than he ever thought.
“Duke and his dad have been great to work with and Duke is doing fantastic after rehabilitation. Duke has been able to return to all of his normal activities and his dad will be using techniques he learned here to continue therapies in their new home. We wish them safe travels and lots of adventures in the future!” – Dr. Jennifer Blake
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.
A little over a year ago, Tilly’s mom Kirsten noticed she was having trouble with one of her rear legs. After a few inconclusive vet visits, an evaluation at Integrative Pet Care was recommended. “With Tilly being a senior corgi, my mind immediately went to Degenerative Myelopathy (DM), and I panicked” remembers Kirsten. After meeting with Dr. Ridley, a twice weekly program of therapeutic exercise & underwater treadmill was prescribed. After rocking it for 8 weeks with her therapist Laura, Tilly graduated to a maintenance plan of once weekly therapies. Tilly is incredibly enthusiastic about her therapy (especially exercise) and absolutely hates taking breaks!
We asked her mom to tell us a little about the daily life of Tilly: “She is a lazy loaf of bread at home. She loves sleeping in strange positions, including but not limited to underneath/in between her beds (corgi sandwich), belly up in the middle of the floor, next to the wall with her feet seemingly holding the wall up, and many more! She loves begging for snacks and working for treats, and I call her a canine Roomba because she is so motivated for any little food scrap. She loves being outside and going on road trip adventures. She’s traveled to both coasts several times, and even enjoys a quick trip around the block. She’s a fantastic copilot!”
“If you’ve seen the hashtags on social media #corgitude and #corgioncorgistrong, and you have the opportunity to meet Tilly, you’ll completely understand both of them! Tilly starts with her ‘corgitude’ by telling me just how excited she is to start her therapy sessions each week. They don’t bother to tell me Tilly has arrived, because I hear her bark. I then come up and see a smiling face as she leads me back to the gym. She is a strong, stumpy, little gal, and gives each session her all, and has no idea that DM is supposed to slow her down. I’m proud to be Tilly’s therapist, and I know #corgination is proud of Tilly too!” -Laura, Tilly’s therapist
“IPC has been nothing short of amazing. Tilly is now a little over a year out from her diagnosis, and is still walking on her own! The progression of DM has been so slow, thanks to their help. She’s started to slow down and have some more weakness, but without IPC I can only imagine we’d be much farther into the progression of the disease. It makes me happy to see her so excited and engaged while she is at IPC. They always go above and beyond to help us and make sure Tilly is getting the care she needs.” -Kirsten
CorgiAid is a nonprofit organization founded to provide financial assistance to corgis and corgi mixes. We help out those who rescue dogs from shelters or other non-permanent homes, then foster them until a new home is found. Medical and other expenses for these dogs can become high.
QBSDR is a rescue that saves special needs corgis and corgi mixes from California. We put great emphasis on rehabilitating our dogs medically and managing their behaviors through training, while getting to know their needs and quirks in order to find them the right home.
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.