Mardi’s story starts off almost 14 years ago when she was transferred to Illinois from New Orleans by West Suburban Humane Society during Hurricane Katrina. Four month old Mardi was adopted by her family on New Year’s Eve. Her family says she has a strong stubborn streak, but is the sweetest dog done without a mean bone in her body.
Last May Mardi became unable to walk and a radiograph revealed an abnormality on her spine, which her family feared to be cancer.
She was referred to Purdue University Small Animal Hospital, where it was discovered that she had cervical IVDD, so a ventral slot decompression of C6-7 was performed. Mardi had a very rough recovery and developed aspirate pneumonia after surgery, which lead to a week long hospitalization in the ICU. And if that wasn’t enough, she also tore her cranial cruciate ligament (CCL). Her owners never gave up on her though and nursed her back to health.
Mardi was referred to Integrative Pet Care of Homer Glen where she met with her new team, Dr. Annie Ubatuba and Michelle. Dr. Annie noted during her evaluation that she was incredibly weak and did not have the ability to stand on her own. A rehabilitation program was created which included acupuncture, underwater treadmill, massage, laser, and exercise. She was also fitted for a stifle (knee) brace to address her CCL tear.
“Despite being older, Mardi has such a strong fighting spirit. It’s inspiring to see her get stronger and feistier the more she comes to see us. Although she might not always be the biggest fan of sitting still for a laser or massage session, the therapies plus the orthotic have helped her come a long way. I look forward to seeing the progress she continues to make.” -Michelle
Make A Difference
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Mardi has asked us to tell you about the organization that saved her life, West Suburban Humane Society.
The West Suburban Humane Society (WSHS) is a volunteer-based, animal welfare organization that was founded in 1972 as a lost-and-found referral service. A dedicated volunteer base and the retained service of several veterinarians has allowed us to save the lives of and give 600 homeless animals each year new homes. We continue to reunite lost animals and their families by maintaining a database with information on over 33,000 pets and their owners, and by providing free pet identification tags.
Bailey came to Integrative Pet Care Homer Glen in April 2019 after a rough recovery from tibial tuberosity advancement (TTA) surgery to repair his torn right cranial cruciate ligament (CCL). Bailey recovered well from a previous surgery in 2016 to repair his torn left CCL, so his owner knew he had to do something. After reading reviews about our clinic, Dave decided to make an evaluation where he met with Dr. Amber Ihrke. In that first appointment it was noted that Bailey was non-weight bearing on his right rear leg and was very uncomfortable with examination of the right knee, which had been this way for months.
Our goals were to address his discomfort and start his recovery to a functional gait. After being put on oral anti-inflammatory medication, supplements, going home with an Assisi loop, and coming to us for laser therapy, he started feeling better. Once his pain was under control, Bailey was able to move onto active therapies like underwater treadmill and therapeutic exercises.
“Bailey, who has a reputation for being quite the ladies’ man, quickly became an IPC favorite” says Tiffany. He is always happy, always smiling, and always beyond thrilled to be at IPC hanging out with his therapists and his good attitude is contagious. According to Michelle, “Katie, Tiffany, and I have to fight to have him on our schedule, but are glad to see him in the building regardless of who has him!”
“With an aggressive rehabilitation program over the course of 4 months, Bailey went from only placing about 3% body weight (normal 20%) on his right rear limb to 15%! Bailey was able to return to a functional 4-limb gait and his comfort is much improved!” -Dr. Ihrke
“Bailey has come a long way in his treatment plan, both in overall attitude and range of motion. He continues to make small improvements, as well as maintain the strength and flexibility he gained by continuing to see us as part of his maintenance plan. It’s amazing what you can get a big ole’ lab to do for peanut butter and beef liver!” -Katie
“The amazing team at IPC have many tools in their bag to help with just about any disorder or problem. Don’t give up on your pet without taking them to IPC first, they deserve a second opinion and second chance! Bailey is living a normal life with little to no pain, and I feel he will remain that way for the rest of his life thanks to IPC.” -Dave
After having surgery to repair a torn cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) in September 2018, Finn was referred to us by his primary care veterinarian. He had an evaluation where it was noted that he was painful, barely placing weight on his leg and had lost a significant amount of muscle. Finn completed 8 weeks of rehabilitation, but showed only slight improvement and began to show neurological signs. He was referred to a neurologist, who determined that he actually had a torn meniscus.
Finn went back to his veterinarian who repaired the tear, but he unfortunately did not improve. Finally we referred him to Dr. David Wilson, DVM, DACVS-SA at Blue Pearl Pet Hospital to remove his hardware and revise the surgery in May.
Finn came back for a recheck in August and he had improved greatly. After 4 weeks of twice weekly therapies, Finn showed incredible progress and was able to wean off his pain medications. After 8 weeks he looked so good that he was able to graduate to a more maintenance level of once weekly therapies consisting of underwater treadmill and exercise/massage/laser!
“Finn is one of my favorite patients and it feels so great to see the improvement he’s made over the past year. It’s awesome to see him back to being his old goofy self!” -Renee, one of Finn’s therapists
Finn was adopted from Chicago Canine Rescue in 2012 when Maria and her family were looking to add a family member after losing their previous dog. Maria quickly fell in love with “Brownie” who was listed as a small dog. 7 years later, the small, timid dog named Brownie is now a 115 lb, outgoing dog named Finn.
“After a year, 3 surgeries and many therapy sessions, Finn is pain free, medication free and running and jumping just like his old self! Finn boards on his therapy days and when I come to pick him up he does not want to leave! Special shout out to the Patient Service Coordinators for the tremendous welcome that he always gets. That’s why IPC, you are ALL AMAZING!” -Maria, Finn’s dedicated mom
“A day in the life of Finn….Wake up on the couch…go lay on the deck….chase the squirrels (been a while since he has been able to do that. He actually caught one the other day, I am sorry to say)….go potty…back to laying on the deck…eat breakfast…go in the house to lay on his chair by the window…bark at every dog that walks down the street…either sleep on that chair or get in the car and go to therapy and have the best day…eat dinner…have a couple treats…lay on the deck…go for a walk….lay on his bed waiting for me to go up to bed so he can have the couch…to go to sleep for the night”
Make A Difference
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Finn has asked us to tell you about the organization that saved his life, Chicago Canine Rescue.
Chicago Canine Rescue Foundation exists to give many of these animals a second chance at a forever family. We love the underdog!
Ready to meet the mushiest pit bull ever? Juanita came to Integrative Pet Care earlier this summer due to limping on walks and having a hard time getting on and off the couch. Her mom was no stranger to rehabilitation as her previous dog Fifty was a long term patient (and our unofficial mascot).
Juanita met with Dr. Kelli Martin and Tami who recommended getting xrays of her hips. Once xrays confirmed that she had bilateral hip arthritis, a formal program was created which included exercise, massage, laser, underwater treadmill and acupuncture.
Juanita loved her exercises and massage, but wasn’t sure about the underwater treadmill. She surprised us all by sticking her head underwater in true hippo fashion!
Juanita continues to make progress at every one of her rechecks. She is able to take longer walks, get up on furniture and in and out of the car easier! Her mom Kelly has also noticed changes at home: “she no longer struggles to sit or lay down- she is getting so strong!”
She came into her mom’s life as a foster in 2016 after being found as a stray in Indiana. She had been over bred, had terribly cropped ears, and several scars. Despite everything she had endured, she was extremely sweet and trusting. After a couple months of fostering, it was clear that she would become a permanent member of the family.
“I cannot say enough about the Integrative Pet Care staff! The patient service coordinators are absolutely fantastic. Her therapists Tami and Rika are the sweetest and Dr. Martin went above and beyond to make sure I got the right diagnosis. I recommend IPC to everyone I know.”
Juanita has been a foster sister to countless dogs and is in the process of becoming a certified reading assistance dog with SitStayRead! She lives with an elderly blind dog who she respects and a guinea pig who she adores!
Make A Difference
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Juanita has asked us to tell you about the organization that she will shortly be a part of, SitStayRead.
SitStayRead’s mission is to advance children’s literacy skills using an engaging curriculum, certified dogs, and dedicated volunteers.
12 week old Benji joined his family in May 2019, and after only 1 week at his new home he suffered a terrible accident. Benji jumped onto a blanket on the couch and slid off onto the floor. His family rushed him to Premier Veterinary Group in Orland Park. Benji had unfortunately broken both of his elbows, which required extensive surgery.
The Surgeon had serious concerns in regards to what his surgery would entail and the unknown outcome if the surgery was a success. He had Bilateral Medial Humeral Condyle fractures which required his elbows to be repaired with pins and screws. Luckily the surgery was a success and Benji was up on his feet in two days! His family was ready to do whatever it took to get him up and acting like a puppy again.
Benji’s was referred to Dr. Amber Ihrke at Integrative Pet Care of Homer Glen by his surgeon, Dr. Alexander El-Warrak, and his family couldn’t be happier with the outcome. After meeting with his rehab team, Benji was prescribed a treatment program that consisted of swimming and therapeutic exercises. After 8 weeks of therapy, Benji had a full recovery of his elbow range of motion, increased muscle mass in his front limbs, improved flexibility in his front limbs and most importantly, did not show any signs of lameness. “It was amazing to see him make such significant improvements session after session! Although he wasn’t a fan of the water, all was forgiven with Benji once the beef liver treats were pulled out. He loved doing exercises for snacks and was so brave with all of the equipment! Patients like Benji help remind me exactly why I started in this field, and so he will forever be one of my favorite patients!” -Michelle
“From the start Jill (patient services coordinator) has been wonderful! She coordinated all of our appointments and most importantly sent us reminders and followed up on visits. It was an overwhelming time and I appreciated her being so on top of things. Michelle was so patient with Benji throughout the entire process. She truly has a gift and is in the right profession. Michelle did an amazing job explaining the goals for therapy and devised a specific home exercise program. I always left feeling like I learned something new to improve the healing process”. -Jessica, Benji’s mom
Benji’s family would like to spread the message of Never Give Up. “Benji’s surgery and recovery were not easy and it definitely was not cheap. Money comes and goes, but giving him the chance at life and the endless amount of joy he brings to us everyday is priceless. Looking at Benji today we feel inspired- we can hardly believe how far he has come in such a short amount of time. He truly is a success story and you never know what’s possible, but love and hope can go a long way.”
Make a difference
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Benji has asked us to tell you about TLC 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.
Lily came to us after a two month history of right rear lameness that was diagnosed as a cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) injury and a patellar luxation. By using a stance analyzer, we were able to determine that Lily was only putting 5% of her body weight on her right rear limb (normal is 20%). Her owners wanted to try a conservative treatment option to see if we could get Lily to walk better. Her therapeutic plan over 8 weeks consisted of pain management modalities and osteoarthritis disease-modifying medication. At the end of her plan, Lily showed no lameness and improved her weight-bearing on the left rear limb to 23%! Lily is a great example of how conservative management with some knee injuries can lead to excellent outcomes.
“Lily is a sweet, rambunctious dog with a lot of personality in a little package. Despite not liking the water at all, she walked in the underwater treadmill very well, and it was amazing to see how much she progressed over 8 weeks despite her stubborn attitude!” -Michelle, Lily’s therapist
Lily’s story starts in 2015 when she was adopted from Indiana Petite Paws Rescue Angels. “Lily was a tiny, six-year-old little girl who only weighed four pounds. She was spoiled and did not want to share her new home with another dog as she was used to being the only child. While she likes to play with toys and fetch, she also likes to snuggle under the covers and watch TV. Lily is she is a ‘diva dog’ who does not like cold or rainy weather since it spoils her hair.” -Carol
When Lily started experiencing lameness, her parents booked an appointment right away at Integrative Pet Care Homer Glen since they had a great experience at the Chicago location with a previous dog. They hoped to treat her condition conservatively to avoid surgery.
“After 4 weeks her progress was impressive, and after an additional 4 she was almost back to normal. We cannot thank the Integrative Pet Care staff enough!” -Carol
Make a difference
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Lily has asked us to tell you about The Caspian Foundation.
Our goal is to provide 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.
Floki was rushed to the ER last April when he became wobbly and painful. An MRI revealed that he had Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) and a hemilaminectomy was recommended and performed immediately. Unfortunately all of this left him unable to use his hind limbs.
Amanda did research and found that we had a great reputation for working with special needs animals! Floki came to us shortly after his surgery and was prescribed an intensive rehabilitation program which consisted of exercise, laser, underwater treadmill, and acupuncture. His prognosis was guarded, but that didn’t stop him from trying his hardest and his dedicated mom Amanda was more than willing to do whatever it took.
We became fast friends since he started coming three times weekly for therapy! Floki’s progress was slow in the beginning, but he made promising improvements every week. He needed full assistance in the underwater treadmill to ambulate and was unable to push himself into a standing position.
A cart was also recommended to aid in his mobility which he took to quickly. He also hitches a ride in his wagon where he loves going on the 606, Humboldt Park and the dog beach. Floki has continued to make amazing progress at every session, and most of all he LOVES his therapies!
Floki continues to make huge strides every week and is now able to walk in the treadmill on his own and has even attempted to take steps on land!! His progress is also due to mom’s dedication to his home care. Floki has an amazing (and bossy) attitude which definitely played a part in his progress.
“First let me say that we are grateful for and really like all of the staff at IPC. Floki’s veterinarians, therapists and the patient service coordinators have been amazing. You all have been so patient and understanding of the struggle it was in the beginning and continue to be so nice and helpful!! Floki and I both would love to give a shout out to his therapist Renee for the extra time and love she has shown him. Renee has really been so helpful in making sure that we go home with handouts explaining our exercises and videos showing progress. She has answered every question I had about feedings, and how to learn to properly express/potty him. She has also coached me to be more relaxed and aware that if I show my frustrations to Floki, he will sense that and be frustrated also. I’m so thankful and so much more confident in caring for Floki because all that Renee has talked me through and shown me. She has gone above and beyond for us!” -Amanda
Make A Difference
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Floki has asked us to tell you about Road Dogs & Rescue.
Road Dogs & Rescue is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization in California focused on rescuing and rehabbing medical bulldogs, puppies with birth defects and spreading the message of love and compassion towards all animals, both locally and internationally.
Meet Sumo & Kiko, our dynamic Shiba Inu duo who keep us on our toes every Tuesday morning! “Sumo has been a patient since his first cruciate surgery nearly 10 years ago and although the surgeon told us rehabilitation therapy was not necessary, our dog trainer recommended exploring options if we really wanted Sumo to get back to his prior athletic level. We were so happy with all the help you gave us, it was only natural to bring our other dog Kiko for sports conditioning and ultimately rehabilitation after she had patella and cruciate surgery.
Despite their surgeries, Sumo and Kiko have had long and healthy agility careers thanks to rehabilitation and ongoing maintenance program which we especially appreciate. It not only allows our dogs to stay in great shape for their athletic endeavors, but also helps them as they age. As an example, Sumo has had chronic kidney disease for the past year and a half. That disease often leads to muscle wasting, particularly in a dog’s hind quarters, as the dog gets less and less active. Our primary vet has expressed pleasant surprise at how little atrophy Sumo has suffered and we attribute much of that to his maintenance program which includes hydrotherapy.
We fell in love with the Shiba Inu breed in 1990 based on a photo in a book of 450 dog breeds which was long before anyone knew what a Shiba was. After our first Shiba died from cancer, we searched for the right breeder with the right puppy. Sumo, who is now 13.5 years old, has been part of our family since he was 4 months old. As everyone on your staff who has worked with Sumo knows, he is classic Shiba: incredibly smart, aloof, stubborn, independent, loathes water, and wants nothing to do with anyone unless he is handsomely rewarded. He is the type of dog who makes you earn his affection, and once you do he will make you feel very special.
Kiko is a rescue Shiba who I met during her intake evaluation at Midwest Shiba Inu Rescue and decided to keep rather than put her into their formal program. She came to us as a wild and out of control jumping bean at the age of 15 months. She’s now 10 and is the Yang to Sumo’s Yin. She loves everyone, gives kisses, wags her tail when she greets you and is anxious to please (although she loves rewards too.) She has the smarts and hatred of water that is classic Shiba, but she gives her affection freely.
Kiko is our agility super star. In 2018, she was ranked the #3 agility Shiba in the country by the AKC (American Kennel Club) and has competed twice in the Agility Invitational in Orlando where only the top 5 dogs of each breed are invited. She has earned four agility championships, which is something that only five Shibas have ever done. She also has top titles in Rally and is close to completing an Obedience title.
Sumo has Obedience titles, two top Rally titles, numerous agility titles. When he had to retire from those athletically demanding sports at the age of 11, he started nosework. He now has the AKCs Advanced titles in exteriors, interiors, containers and buried hides as well as nosework titles from NACSW (National Association of Canine Scent Work) and UKC (United Kennel Club).
Kiko recently had a TPLO surgery for a torn cruciate, so her days include a morning walk, a little bitey-face time with our 4 year old shiba, breakfast, about 10 minutes of rehab homework and then “free time” until late afternoon when she gets about another 10-15 minutes of rehab time (along with some tricks training), an evening walk, dinner, more bitey-face play, a late night walk and sleep. Tuesdays she goes to IPC for therapy and Thursdays she goes to Rally class where she is learning new skills for a competition in September. Sumo’s schedule is almost identical, but he doesn’t play bitey-face (that’s beneath him). He also goes to IPC for therapy on Tuesday and Nosework class on Thursday where he shows off how smart he is (he no longer competes).
One thing I’d like to mention is how important I think IPC has been in keeping both our very active dogs healthy. When Sumo tore his cruciate at a young age, both his primary care vet and surgeon told us to expect him to tear the other cruciate within two years or less and to expect arthritis in that knee by age 6. Well, thanks to great rehab and continued maintenance, the other leg’s cruciate didn’t tear for more than 5 years. Plus, it kept his arthritis at bay as he was able to compete in agility and rally until he turned 11! We were warned that Kiko’s other knee would require surgery if we didn’t keep her in good shape. Even though it was her other cruciate that tore, her recovery from surgery was easier since she was in great shape going in.” -Amy
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Sumo & Kiko have asked us to tell you about Midwest Shiba Inu Rescue.
Midwest Shiba Inu Rescue (MSIR) was founded in 2002 and is a a registered 501(c)3 non-profit and licensed rescue. We help to save and place Shiba Inus throughout the Midwest, including Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and Indiana.
Brady’s love for launching himself off a deck after birds landed him at the vet’s office to repair one of his bilateral torn cranial cruciate ligaments (CCL) last fall. At the suggestion of their daughter, who is a physical therapist, Brady’s parents made an appointment at Integrative Pet Care- Homer Glen.
Brady had surgery on his right stifle (knee) first and when that was strong enough, he went under to repair the left. “From the first day we saw him post operation, he was doing amazing! Thanks to the rehabilitation of his right leg, his recovery was much quicker and now both legs are stronger than ever” says therapist Michelle.
Another aspect of Brady’s program was weight loss which he accomplished under the care of therapist Katie who is a Purina Weight Coach- “he really is a great example of how weight loss can greatly improve the recovery process”.
What a difference you made to Brady’s life. He loved his visits and has gained back almost all mobility that he had before surgery. -Brady’s mom
You would never know it today, but Brady was a ‘monster’ when he was little! With lots of training, he calmed down and transformed into a friendly and sweet dog.
Meet our July Patient of the Month Atticus, who is a six year old Frenchton (French Bulldog/Boston Terrier mix). Atticus started having trouble with his spine three years ago, but recovered well with rest and pain medication. Unfortunately he suffered a setback in April of 2018 which left him completely unable to walk. He was rushed to a neurologist who performed a ventral slot surgery which decompresses the cervical spinal cord.
Atticus remained unable to walk after surgery, but regained mobility after a week. Rehabilitation was recommended and he walked through our doors a month later.
Despite everything that he had been through, Atticus looked pretty good! His rehabilitation program focused on pain management, fine tuning his mobility, and strengthening. He started coming twice weekly for underwater treadmill, exercise/laser, and acupuncture.
Atticus looked better and better to the IPC team at every visit and pain management modalities such as acupuncture and laser were able to be weaned out. Underwater treadmill and exercise sessions would now be the focus for strengthening.
Atticus continued to do well, so he was graduated to a maintenance level of rehabilitation. He now comes once weekly for underwater treadmill (which he loves) with acupuncture and a exercise/laser combo session every 6 weeks. Atticus is an IPC superstar!
“Atticus marches through our doors ready to WORK and does everything that is asked of him. He is a dream patient who never lets me down!” -Laura, CCRA
Atticus can usually be found patrolling the neighborhood with his mom Mary- something that she was worried he’d never be able to do again.
“Integrative Pet came in at a very difficult time after a spinal surgery for a ruptured disc. They have graced Atticus with the strength and comfort in order to recover beautifully and now he thinks he can fly! With the love that he’s been given at Integrative Pet I believe he can!” -Mary